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"Aquaculture, not the Internet, represents the most promising investment opportunity of the 21st Century."

- Peter Drucker, Management Expert & Economist


Vietnams eksport af Pangasius kan blive hårdt ramt af WWFs 'rødlistning'

WWF har for nylig, i deres forbruger-guide, givet pangasius 'det røde kort' Det vil sige at WWF anbefaler at man finder et alternativ til pangasius når der skal fisk på bordet.

Her er en sammenstilling af hvad der, blandt andet, er sagt om effekten af denne 'rødlistning'.

Bloomberg News:
Vietnamese catfish exporters are concerned that European sales may be hurt after a guide by World Wide Fund for Nature advised consumers not to buy the fish.

Members of the WWF in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark on Nov. 19 issued a consumer guide, placing some of Vietnam's catfish products on the so-called "red list" of products that people should not consume because of unsustainable farming practices, Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors said.

European markets currently make up almost 37 percent of catfish exports from companies in the Southeast Asian country including Vinh Hoan Corp and Hung Vuong Corp.

The impact on Vietnamese catfish exports will be "unavoidable," Nguyen Huu Dung, vice chairman of the association, said in Hanoi today. Those companies which have not met the Global GAP standard would "definitely be impacted," Dung said, without elaborating.

Global GAP is a Germany-based private body that sets voluntary certification standards for agricultural products globally, according to its website. Dung said 20 companies have met that international standard, accounting for between 17 percent and 20 percent of Vietnam's catfish farming area.

Environmental group defends consumer warning on Vietnamese catfish

Monsters & Critics:
The WWF environmental group on Monday defended its ratings counseling that consumers not eat most Vietnamese catfish after Vietnamese officials called the ratings a smear.

The latest consumer fish-buying guides by the WWF, or World Wide Fund for Nature, warned against eating most Vietnamese catfish because of alleged unsustainable aquaculture practices. On a sustainability scale of green, yellow, and red, the group rated Vietnamese catfish as red and not certified by international quality labels.

However, certified organically raised Vietnamese catfish received a green rating. Non-organic catfish certified by the international industry group GlobalGap was rated yellow.

Vu Van Tam, the deputy minister of agriculture in charge of fisheries, expressed surprise that the WWF would reject Vietnamese catfish after the group has been involved for years in efforts to set the industry's sustainable aquaculture standards.

'WWF has worked with Vietnam in many areas,' the newspaper Agriculture quoted Tam as saying Monday. 'I don't understand where they get the information to give such a rushed rating, which is unrealistic and unscientific.'

The newspaper quoted another deputy agriculture minister, Le Phuong Phuong, as saying Vietnamese catfish was being 'smeared' because it was 'too good.'

Mark Powell, WWF International's global seafood coordinator, told German Press Agency dpa the organization stood by its judgement that uncertified Vietnamese catfish was unsustainable because of the environmental impact of intensive farming practices.

He acknowledged higher quality Vietnamese producers felt 'unfairly targeted' because seafood guides in some countries had printed only WWF's overall red rating and not the green and yellow ratings for its certified catfish, also called pangasius. The WWF's aim, he said, was to help high quality producers distinguish themselves from low-quality ones.

'We are helping them differentiate themselves from their competition by telling the world that typical pangasius from Vietnam is unsustainable,' Powell said.

Flavio Corsin, director of an aquaculture sustainability centre at the Vietnam Fisheries Society, said he believed the WWF analysis had left out important factors.

Corsin, who previously worked at the WWF on Vietnamese catfish standards, said the report failed to account for the industry's efficient use of land. Vietnamese catfish farmers can raise 100 tons of fish in a 1-hectare fish pond, he said, meaning farms are compact and have less ecological impact.

Powell said that issue had been taken into account but that intensive aquaculture created problems of its own, such as polluted water discharge.

'The best thing the government of Vietnam could do to help their pangasius industry is develop better governance of the industry,' Powell said.  

What's behind the "tra fish unjust punishment"?

VietnamNet Bridge:
The World Wide Fund (WWF) has transferred tra catfish to the red from the yellow list in its latest guides. This is evidently an intentionally biased and groundless suggestion that will negatively affect Vietnam's tra fish export.

Consumers are encouraged to look for an alternative to the red-listed species. The WWF says consumers can buy products from the yellow list but suggests they choose only secondary green-listed species.

Explaining the decision, WWF coordinator Powell told Intrafish that the downgrading stemmed from "problems with governance".

A biased and nonsensical decision
Responding to the information, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said this is a biased and nonsensical decision. Answering the questions from Nguoi lao dong newspaper, he said: "The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has requested its departments to clarify if this is really an accusation from the WWF. If this is an official statement from WWF, I can say that this is a biased and groundless conclusion".

"MARD will soon express its official voice to the WWF and relevant international organizations. The information will very seriously influence Vietnamese tra farmers and badly affect Vietnam's tra fish exports. The WWF's decision is highly enigmatic and it is unclear about whom it is supporting by launching such a biased conclusion," Tam said.

According to the Deputy Minister, the WWF has close ties with Vietnam and it is cooperating with Vietnam in many fields, including aquaculture. However, this is a hasty and groundless decision.

"I can affirm that the process of farming, processing and exporting tra fish products gets the approval of GlobalGAP - the world measure of standards for agricultural produce, including aqua culture. Vietnam's tra fish products have been exported to many countries in the world. If Vietnam's tra fish products did not meet the requirements, they would never be able to be accepted and favored by picky markets, such as Japan, the US or the EU," he continued.

Nguoi lao dong newspaper has also quoted Dr Duong Nghia Quoc, Director of the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, who is also the Chair of the Dong Thap province's Fisheries Association as saying that one must not say the feed for tra fish is not safe.

"No one uses self-made feed in tra farming. The materials for making feed are imported from different countries in the world. Therefore, no one can say that the feed is unsafe," he affirmed.

Regarding the environment protection, Quoc said that the existing research institutes and local observation stations have been working diligently to ensure the standards are maintained on environment protection in farming areas.

Nguyen Huu Dung, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said on Phap luat Thanh Pho HCM newspaper that after hearing the news about WWF's decision, VASEP tried to contact the fund to clarify the issue. However, WWF has not given satisfactory explanations yet.

Nguyen Viet Thang, Chair of the Fishery Association, also said that it is an unreasonable decision to put tra fish into the red list. In the last many years, the aquaculture and processing all have always been following the regulations set by FAO and GlobalGAP. Vietnam's tra fish has also received certificates from quality organizations in big markets in the world.

Bad attempts
When talking with Vietnam News Agency, Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries Pham Anh Tuan said that the WWF's recommendations lack scientific foundations. According to Tuan, the recommendations bear bad intentions, thus badly affecting Vietnam's tra fish industry and global consumers.

Dan Viet newspaper has quoted a source from the directorate as saying that recently, Vietnam's tra fish has been "attacked" in the European market and on a report on the US Today channel. Most recently, tra fish has become the subject of possible anti-dumping lawsuits. However,  many big seafood retail groups in the world such as Findus Group and Birds Eye Group have voiced the support towards tra products and tra farming environments.

Vietnam's tra catfish are exported to more than 120 countries including the US and the European Union.

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