November 22, 2012
Vietnam hopeful of pangasius sector achieving aquaculture standards
Vietnam has revealed that the country's pangasius sector will fulfill its aim of certifying 10% of its production under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard by the end of 2012.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and the Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS) two years ago signed a Cooperation Agreement together to help increase environmental and social responsibility in the pangasius industry so it could achieve ASC certification. The parties committed to supporting producers as they work to achieve 100% of farmed pangasius production for export under a certification scheme by 2015, with 50% of this under the ASC by 2015 and 10% by the end of 2012.
The parties to the Cooperation Agreement support about 30 of Vietnam's biggest pangasius producers in close cooperation with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), Anova and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
An event in Ho Chi Minh City was set up this week to gather pangasius producers and international buyers and celebrate the ASC certification achievement, as well as to ink new purchase agreements.
"These pioneering companies are setting an example for the wider industry. If the market responds appropriately, a major shift of the industry to responsible farming methods will be triggered," declared Dr Nguyen Huu Dzung, VASEP VP. "Adopting responsible practices will also increase the future sustainability of the industry in Vietnam, protecting income and employment for the long term."
Vinh Hoan, Hung Vuong, NTACO, Hoang Long and others - some of the biggest pangasius producers in the Mekong Delta -- recently achieved ASC certification.
"Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system in the world, and its rapid expansion has not come without impacts," said Chris Ninnes, ASC's CEO. "ASC certification recognises and rewards farms that are following responsible practices. This includes conservation of water resources, no misuse of antibiotics, responsible use of feed, and behaving in a socially responsible manner."
Notably, in excess of 90% of the world's pangasius exports come from Vietnam. In 2011 alone, the country's pangasius export value reached US$1.85 billion and accounted for a full 1% of GDP.
"Farmed seafood already accounts for about half of all the fish and shellfish we eat," said Jose Villalon, WWF's Vice President of Aquaculture. "When done responsibly, aquaculture presents a solution to meeting the increasing food demand of a growing global population."