This year's tuna exports will fail to reach last year's level of 600 million USD as exports to Japan and the US, the country's two main markets, tended to further decline in the latter months.

The forecast was announced by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Over the past nine months, Vietnam had exported 415 million USD worth of tuna products, down 4.5 percent from the same period of 2012, VASEP said.

The association attributed this unsatisfactory performance to the 10-15 percent cost increase and the decline in domestic caught tuna in recent months, resulting in less raw tuna supply for processing.

Thus, it was a difficult task for the industry to speed up exports in the remaining months of this year, it said.

Japanese experts outlined backward techniques in pre-processing and post-harvest preservation as major obstacles that had limited the country's tuna exports, especially to strict markets like Japan.

The past nine months witnessed a significant drop of nearly 20 percent in Vietnam's tuna exports to the country, as its Government has curbed food hygiene inspection for imported seafood products.

Japanese enterprises could consume all of Vietnam 's tuna if they are well-processed and well-preserved and satisfy Japan 's requirements, experts said.

Specifically, Japan could buy about a large volume of tuna per year, caught primarily in the provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa.

Authorities of central Binh Dinh province were developing plans to send workers to Japan to learn about tuna processing and preservation with an aim to improving the quality and export value of Vietnam's tuna.-VNA