Stricter standards on catfish farms


All catfish farmers will be required to apply the new VietGAP (Viet Good Agricultural Practice) standards in the near future.

Farmers harvest catfish at the Tra Vinh Farming Company in the southern province of Tra Vinh under the Southern Food Corporation. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue


Speaking at a consultative meeting on the draft of the new standards in the capital city, former director general of the National Agro-aqua-forestry Quality Assurance Department Nguyen Tu Cuong said the new standards were based on global good agricultural practices.

"When the standards are ready to be applied, all farmers with catfish ponds meeting the new requirement will be certified free of charge," said Cuong.

He said the application of VietGap would help farmers save a great deal of money spent on acquiring the GlobalGap, ASC (Aqua culture Stewardship Council) or MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification.

"For the ASC certificate, the farmer has to pay $7,500. Yet the certificate is valid for only one year. For the MSC, in the first year the first certificate costs $100,000 and in the following year the cost is $12,000," Cuong said.

He said that after the successful application of VietGap for catfish farmers, the standards would then be applied to other aqua-culture products, including mollusks and shrimp.

Le Chi Binh, deputy director of An Giang Aqua-culture and Sea Food Processing, said the application of the new standards for catfish farmers was imperative.

"The standards will make the catfish industry become more sustainable in the immediate future and in the long run," said Binh.

"Though each international market requires different certificates, as is the case for the European, American or Japanese markets, there is a common requirement and that is the Country of Origin Labelling. This requirement is already covered in VietGap."

According to the General Department of Fisheries, at present there are 45 regions raising catfish with a total area of over 1,000 ha to have been awarded the GlobalGAP certificate.

Eighteen other regions and fish farms with a total area of over 237 ha have applied for GlobalGAP certificates.

In addition to the GlobalGAP certificate, many catfish enterprises have been awarded other certificates, such as the AquaGAP (88,796 ha), SQF-1000 (209.5 ha), BAP (102 ha) and FOS (60 ha).

In the last 10 years, fishing grounds for catfish in the country have increased five times, with output increasing by 35 times – from 37,500 tonnes to 1.35 million tonnes. Vietnamese catfish is sold in 136 countries and territories.

In the period under review, export turnover for catfish also increased 35 times, from $40 million in the year 2000 to $1.4 billion in 2010.

In the first five months of this year, Viet Nam exported about 249,000 tonnes of catfish, earning nearly $600 million, an increase of 2.6 per cent in volume and 23 per cent in value.

Up to 95 per cent of catfish fillets sold in the international market comes from Viet Nam. Yet, quite a lot of work must be done to make the industry develop sustainably and ensure it is in a good position to continue to compete in the world markethttp://en.baomoi.com/Info/Stricter-standards-on-catfish-farms/3/156492.epi

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