Vietnam's tra fish industry aims to develop a sustainable supply chain by 2020, experts said at a conference on January 20.

Toward that end, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and the Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre launched a 3.2 million USD project on establishing a sustainable tra (Pangasius) supply chain.

Pham Anh Tuan, Deputy Director General of VASEP, said the project would help the industry meet international quality standards.

Over 48 months, Vietnam will establish a model farm and training centre and start developing a legal framework to clarify the origin of tra fish products.

Vietnam currently provides over 90 percent of the world supply of tra fish. Hundreds of thousands of farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta earn a living from tra fish farming and processing for export. Annually, exports bring in 1.8 billion USD.

However, the industry faces several quality problems, such as antibiotic residue, which negatively affect the image of Vietnamese products around the world.

The project aims to help at least 70 percent of processors and 30 percent of animal feed producers to participate in a cleaner production programme.

The goal is for at least 50 percent of target businesses to provide tra fish that meet the standards of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which are highly regarded in international markets.

The project will be implemented by the Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre, VASEP, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Vietnam and WWF-Austria.-VNA