Vietnam's seafood products on display at a fair. (Source: VNA)

Vietnam’s tuna exports have rapidly increased in recent years, and the country still holds potential for more growth in this area, according to industry insiders.

Tuna exports have been the third biggest earner in Vietnam’s seafood industry with a value of 400 million USD in 2014, behind only tra fish and shrimp.

However, according to experts, Vietnam would increase its tuna revenue if proper measures were implemented to boost fishing productivity and exports in the future.

Nguyen Pham Thanh, Vice President of the Tuna Club under the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said Vietnamese sea areas have the potential to yield 600,000 tonnes of tuna each year.

Nguyen Dinh Hau, Head of the business division of the Khanh Hoa-based Sustainable Seafood Ltd., said Vietnam can only fish 16,000 tonnes out of the 21,000 tonnes of ocean tuna each year and 22,000 out of 45,000 tonnes of Katsuwonus pelamis tuna .

According to Nguyen Viet Manh, Director of the Scientific & Technological and International Cooperation Department of the Directorate of Fisheries, if fishermen and enterprises increase their output to 100,000 tonnes per year, Vietnam would be capable of competing with the world’s top tuna exporters.

According to Hau, central agencies and local governments should assist fishermen with new facilities and preservation techniques to meet the requirements of target export markets.

It is necessary to balance the interests of the enterprises and fishermen to ensure the sustainable development of tuna fishing, said Hau.

Vietnam’s tuna products can be found in 99 countries around the world, including choosy markets such as Japan, the US and the EU.

Vietnam is the 10th biggest tuna exporter with 45.5 percent being processed products. The US alone accounts for 36 percent of the total exports. In the first eight months of 2015, tuna export values reached 300 million USD, of which processed products were worth 138 million USD.

Vietnam’s tuna products are facing tough competition in markets without signed free trade agreements such as the EU and the US.-VNA