Food safety seems to be a recalcitrant issue for Vietnam as the EU rejected 11 shipments of Vietnamese seafood during the first nine months due to high levels of heavy metals. The quantity rejected by the EU during the nine-month period was 2.2 times higher than the whole of 2015, according to the Vietnamese National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Department.
EU rejects 11 Vietnamese seafood shipments in first 3 Qs
A total of 11 shipments of Vietnamese seafood were turned back by the EU in the first nine months due to high levels of heavy metals, VN Express International reported, citing a statement posted on Vietnam's National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Department's (Nafiqad) website.
Nafiqad said it got information from the European Commission's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) that the shipments were contaminated with mercury and cadmium.
Nafiqad added that the quantity rejected by the EU during the nine-month period was 2.2 times higher than the whole of 2015.
In August, Vietnamese authorities warned local aquaculture companies that they would not renew their export licenses unless they complied with safety standards following a warning from the EU after it had found seafood shipments allegedly containing excess antibiotic levels.
Vietnam ranks as the third-largest seafood exporter in the world, accounting for over 5% of the market share, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood (Vasep).
Vasep reported that in the first half of the year, Vietnamese seafood exports totalled US$3.15, up 4% over the same period last year, thanks to the recovery in the demand for shrimp and pangasius.
RECOGNISING IRISH EXCELLENCE
Finalists for inaugural BIM seafood awards announced
The Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), or Irish Sea Fisheries Board, has announced the shortlist for the inaugural National Seafood Awards.
The finalists (composed of individuals and companies) have been selected for their outstanding contributions in the areas of skills, sustainability, innovation and competitiveness. The overall winners in each category will be revealed at the gala awards ceremony at Clayton Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin, on Nov. 17.
BIM is hosting the inaugural Awards to celebrate Ireland's €1-billion seafood sector, which employs 11,000 people across the island. The shortlist includes 38 finalists from across the seafood industry including the fishing, fish farming, seafood processing and retail sectors.
Fifteen counties feature in the shortlist, with Donegal leading the way with 8 finalists, followed by Cork (6), Dublin (5), and Louth, Kerry and Wexford with three finalists each, Galway and Waterford (2 each), and Clare, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford, Mayo and Sligo (1 finalist each).
BIM Chief Executive Tara McCarthy said, 'We, in BIM, are delighted to announce a shortlist of talented individuals and companies who have all excelled and contributed to a diverse industry that is the cornerstone of Ireland's agri-food portfolio. As an Island nation, the Irish seafood industry is the lifeblood of our coastal communities and it has the potential for significant growth in the years ahead. This is an exciting time to work in seafood and the BIM National Awards is a great opportunity to recognise and honour the many leaders and shining lights in this vibrant sector'.
For the list of the finalists, log on to http://www.bim.ie/news-and-events/content,103161,en.html.
A BIG BOOST
FTA with EAEU benefits Vietnam pangasius exports
Vietnamese pangasius exports to Russia and other member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will benefit greatly from the free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and EAEU, which has taken effect recently, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep) said.
'The FTA between Vietnam and EAEU not only helps Vietnam access to a big regional market that unites more than 180 million people in countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgystan, but also Vietnam's goods enjoy the tax rate of 0%', Vasep said.
It added that Vietnam seafood exports, particularly pangasius items shipped to Russia and other member states would benefit greatly from this agreement.
Atlantis Seafoods win innovation award
Atlantis Seafoods, a family-run business based near the bustling fishing port of Kilmore Quay, County Wexford, Ireland, received the coveted Seafood Innovation Award sponsored by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), or the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, at this year's Blas na hEireann Awards in Dingle, County Kerry.
Atlantis Seafoods received the award for their Kilmore Quay haddock goujons developed to meet a growing consumer demand for fresh local and convenient seafood that is easy to cook and gluten-free.
John Kenny, managing director of Atlantis Seafoods, said they were 'absolutely thrilled' to win the Seafood Innovation Award. 'We have worked closely with BIM in their Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty in recent years and the expertise and assistance from their team has been instrumental in the success of our new Kilmore Quay range. We identified a gap in the retail market for fresh, not frozen, convenient, gluten-free and locally sourced seafood and we used innovative techniques to develop a gluten-free breaded crumb that would not only retain its shelf life but most importantly its taste'.
Atlantis Seafoods has a range of innovative products including its Kilmore Quay seafood sausages, awarded an Irish Quality Food Award last year and a newly launched range of healthy fish products for children.
Tara McCarthy, BIM CEO said, 'Atlantis Seafoods represents a forward-thinking seafood enterprise that has successfully moved from wholesale to retail and has done so by diversifying and embracing innovative technology and support. We are looking forward to enabling Atlantic Seafoods to further drive their Innovation agenda through our Seafood Development Centre in the months ahead'.
Atlantis Seafoods will get €4,000 (US$4,358) worth of services from BIM's Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty, County Cork. The centre has world-class technology and facilities and a team of expert researchers, seafood technologists and business development personnel to assist the Irish seafood sector to drive innovative thinking and new product development. Over the last two years alone, the centre has completed over 80 projects with more than 50 companies.
US court rejects Vietnamese exporter's duty rate challenge
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rejected Viet I-Mei Frozen Food Co.'s (Viet I-Mei) challenge of the 25.76% anti-dumping duty assessed on its shipments of shrimp to the US for the fourth administrative review period, the Southern Shrimp Alliance reported.
The administrative review covered shrimp import entries made between Feb. 1, 2008, and Jan. 31, 2009. In the administrative proceeding, Viet I-Mei refused to provide the US Department of Commerce with information in response to questions raised by the agency. Because of the refusal to participate, Commerce assigned Viet I-Mei a 25.76% anti-dumping duty assessment rate.
Viet I-Mei appealed Commerce's decision, arguing that the agency should have allowed the foreign exporter to withdraw its request for individual examination and should have granted the company the antidumping duty assessment rate given to all non-individually reviewed exporters that were able to establish independence from the government of Vietnam.
After the Court of International Trade held that Commerce had acted lawfully and reasonably in assigning a 25.76% anti-dumping duty assessment rate, Viet I-Mei appealed that court decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee (AHSTAC) participated in the appeal and represented the domestic shrimp industry at oral argument before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier this summer in defense of the agency's actions.
Viet I-Mei argued that the company no longer wished to participate in the administrative review proceeding because of changes in the company's ownership. In response, AHSTAC argued that other developments were more likely to be the basis for Viet I-Mei's refusal to participate. The Court of Appeals, referring to Viet I-Mei by its former name 'Grobest' and AHSTAC as 'Domestic Producers', discussed the two different positions in its unanimous opinion.
Rice farmers in Indian state switching to shrimp
Rice farmers in coastal areas of India are switching to farming white shrimp, the Economic Times of India reported.
In Andhra Pradesh stat, vannamei shrimp farming has raked in US$44.9 billion, according to the Times report.
The report cited official data that showed that the area under paddy in that state has been progressively decreasing over the last few years. It said paddy cultivation shrank 10% in 2015-16 after dipping 7% in the previous year, mostly in coastal districts.
FOCUS ON SALMON
Cargill, EWOS open fish health centre in Chile
Cargill and its EWOS brand marked a significant milestone in addressing fish health and disease prevention through the inauguration of one of the world's largest and most significant research centers of its kind.
Located at the Pacific coastal-town of Colaco, Chile, the Cargill Innovation Center is geared specifically to improve health and wellbeing for salmon. The innovation center will serve as a research hub of internationally renowned experts from EWOS and Cargill, who will focus on developing functional fish diets and studying diseases that affect farmed salmon in Chile and other countries focused on aquaculture.
Through the Cargill investment and the support of Corfo, a Chilean developmental agency, the innovation centre will have more than 30 scientists and aquaculture experts. As part of their research, they will create tools and additional controls to fight the two major health challenges in the salmon industry. The first one is SRS, caused by a bacterium responsible for 79% of the mortality of salmon and the main reason for antibiotics use in Chile. The second one is caligidosis, caused by caligus, or 'sea lice', a parasite that attaches to salmon skin. These diseases have contributed to significant fish industry sector losses.
With this investment, the Cargill Innovation Centre in Chile will be able to conduct four to five times more studies than before, increasing the global capacity for fish health research by 30%.
'Having our own fish health centre will accelerate our product development programmes, allowing us to quickly develop new customer solutions', said Einar Wathne, president of Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 'We will be able to dig much deeper into the primary diseases and combat the risks they create for salmon producers, and also apply our learnings across multiple species of fish.'
Thai Union invests in world's largest seafood resto
Thai Union has made a US$575 million strategic investment in Red Lobster, the world's largest seafood restaurant company.
Golden Gate Capital will remain majority owner and retain operational control of Red Lobster.
'Red Lobster is an iconic brand, with a leading market position in seafood casual dining and a world-class management team, and has delivered strong performance since Golden Gate acquired the company in 2014', said Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union Group. 'This investment marks a strategic step to build Thai Union's direct-to-consumer channel, and will enable us to benefit from the extensive restaurant industry expertise of both the Red Lobster management team and Golden Gate'.
'Thai Union is one of the largest and best-managed global seafood companies, and has been a trusted strategic supplier to Red Lobster for over 20 years,' said Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster. 'This close partnership will help accelerate Red Lobster's strategy of being the best seafood specialist in every trade area we serve, bringing guests 'sea-to-table' quality seafood and a best-in-class dining experience at affordable prices'.
Josh Olshansky, managing director at Golden Gate Capital, for his part, said: 'Thai Union's investment is a testament to the great progress Red Lobster has made and the tremendous growth potential ahead. Red Lobster has fantastic momentum, as the company has increased profitability each year since Golden Gate's acquisition and guest satisfaction is at an all-time high. We look forward to forging a closer relationship between Red Lobster and Thai Union and to accelerating Red Lobster's growth.'
J.P. Morgan acted as exclusive financial advisor to Thai Union.
LOWEST SINCE 2008
Volumes down in Sept. for shrimp in the Gulf
Shrimp landings from the Gulf of Mexico for September that continue to show low volumes of catch in 2016, data recently released by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed, according to the Southern Shrimp Alliance.
The 11.2 million pounds of shrimp landed in the Gulf of Mexico last month were the lowest reported for the month of September since 2008 and the third-lowest volume recorded for a September over the last 15 years.
Overall, shrimp landings in the Gulf were nearly 18% below the prior 14-year historical average (13.6 million pounds), with an almost 3.5-million-pound drop-off from last September (14.6 million pounds). Landings in Louisiana (5 million pounds) were on par with landings last September (4.9 million pounds) and the decline in volume was experienced most acutely in Texas (4.3 million pounds versus 6.1 million pounds in September 2015) and Alabama (1.2 million pounds versus 2.8 million pounds in September 2015).
In the nine months through September, 67.3 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the Gulf of Mexico, the lowest for the first three quarters of the year since 2010. In total, Gulf shrimp landings this year remain roughly 24% below the prior 14-year historical average (88.4 million pounds), with a drop-off of 7.5 million pounds compared with the first nine months of last year (74.8 million pounds).