Last year, Vietnam’s export of tra fish faced challenges in Europe and the US but experienced a marked growth in the Middle East market, earning a value of nearly 1.8 billion USD.

Experts say this year, challenges for the sector will remain when processing businesses will still face materials shortage as tra fish farm area has been dwindled when farmers have left their farms idle due to low profit.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it is time for the tra fish sector to balance the supply and demand, carry out restructuring and improve processing capacity.

Mr Vu Van Tam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said it is crucial to prevent raw and fresh products from catching diseases. He added the sector should increase added value for aquatic products once the antibiotic residue is curbed.

Last year marked the first time when Vietnam’s aquatic products were warned for failure to meet environmental sustainability and biodiversity.

Experts say this is a challenge but also an opportunity for the fisheries sector to re-organise its production and perfect its management system, ensuring rules of origin and environmental sustainability.

Nguyen Thi Anh, General Director Ngoc Xuan Seafood Joint Stock Company said the company has secured long term contracts with fishing boats to ensure safe materials inputs rather than making unplanned purchase as they did before.

This year, the sector will arrange production in value chain, launch farming models up to VietGAP standards in combination with new rural development, build full procedures for seafood certification before export, and promote responsible fishing among businesses and farmers.

Last year, the total aquatic export earnings hit 8.3 billion USD, up 17.8 percent annually.-VNA