Tra fish breeding strictly monitored
The breeding of tra fish in Vietnam has been stringently monitored, from the establishment of farms, water supply and treatment of waste water, breeding fish, managing feeds and quality of fry, through to the processing phase, a senior fisheries official said, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to VASEP.
Pham Anh Tuan, Deputy Chief of the General Fisheries Department, was speaking at a press briefing in Hanoi on Dec. 8 regarding the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) listing of Vietnam 's tra (Pangasius) fish in the Red List in its guidance manual for European consumers.
According to Intrafish Media Group, WWF member organisations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark have moved a number of Vietnam's tra fish products from the Orange List (products can be considered for use) to the Red List (products should not be used) in the 2010-2011 consumer guidance manual for the six EU countries.
"Listing tra fish in the ‘Red List' is totally unconvincing," Tuan said, stressing that it was erroneous to use environmental issues to send out such a recommendation.
The fishery official said that in Vietnam , feeds for tra fish have been supplied by prestigious companies which meet standardised hygienic safety standards in their production.
Tuan told the press that during its working session with WWF Vietnam the same day, the General Fisheries Department proposed that WWF Vietnam contact WWF organisations in the affected countries to request them to remove the recommendation.
Nguyen Tu Cuong, a representative from the Vietnam Fishing Association, requested WWF correct the erroneous information it had already delivered and recall leaflets containing its recommendation already sent to consumers.
According to Cuong, WWF's act infringed the principles of objectivity and openness the organisation has pursued, blackened the name of Vietnam 's tra fish and caused harm to European consumers.
The civil authorities of 28 EU countries, the US , Russia and ASEAN member countries have all recognised that Vietnamese aquatic products are environmentally safe, said Cuong.
The Government has in recent times given special attention to the breeding of tra fish in the Mekong delta by establishing a steering committee for tra fish production and consumption and preparing to promulgate a decree related to the work.
Since 2003, Vietnam has applied the standards of the quality management certification system SQF 1000, owned and operated by the US Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
Almost all Vietnam tra fish businesses have adopted this traceability system and a closed production chain to ensure the quality of their products.
Many Vietnamese tra fish farms and plants have received Global GAP certificates, the rigorous global standard for the farms since early 2010, and the Global GAP programme will be widely applied for all commercial fish farms in the 2011-2015 period.
Tra fish, a freshwater native fish in the Mekong Delta, is a nutritionally rich food source. Vietnam now supplies more than 95 percent of commercial tra fish to the world market.
In the first 10 months of this year, it exported more than 538,200 tonnes of tra fish products to 124 countries and territories, including 184,360 tonnes to the EU.