Workers clean tuna with water (Photo: VNA)

Binh Dinh (VNA) – With Japanese support in technology transfer, fishermen in the central coastal province of Binh Dinh have brought onshore 2,477 tuna fish, weighing 101 tonnes, in their most recent catch.

Binh Dinh has the capacity to develop its marine economy, especially the tuna industry, but in past years, despite the increasing output of tuna fishing, little economic outcomes were recorded. Due to primitive fishing techniques, long periods at sea and poor preservation efficacy, there was only a negligible number of local tuna fulfilling export standards.

Since 2015, the Japanese-based Kato group has transferred its latest fishing equipment and technologies to the province and provided relevant training courses.

As part of the transfer, a local fleet of 25 boats were equipped with automatic fishing rods and 130 fishermen received training.

Of the total catch from the fleet’s latest sailing between January and April, 712 tuna fish or 29 tonnes were tested to meet requirements for export to Japan. However, only 28 fish or 1.2 tonnes were shipped to the country. Binh Dinh tuna often nets bidding prices ranging between 950 and 1,600 JPY (9 – 15 USD) per kg in Japan.

According to boat owners participating in the Kato project, local fishermen are yet to get used to Japanese fishing method and tools. Following the new techniques, they need to work harder and pay more for ice used for preservation.

Offshore fishing and long time taken to transport the catch onshore still represents an obstacle, as there is only one tuna auction mounted in Japan per month. Consequently, not many local fishermen are taking interest in exporting tuna.

Japanese experts said Vietnamese tuna has a beautiful skin colour but rather pale flesh, which does not match Japan’s consumer preference. This has resulted in the low export quantity.

Local authorities are working on these shortcomings to improve tuna quality and productivity for higher export volumes. Measures include making adjustments to Japanese tools suitable for fishing conditions in Vietnam and ensuring the transport duration is under nine days.-VNA