Reducing output to a level suitable for export demand is an important measure in the ongoing restructuring of the tra fish industry, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has argued.

Delegates at an October 24 meeting of tra fish producers in southern Can Tho city agreed with VASEP’s idea, saying that it would help increase tra fish prices if it was implemented.

According to VASEP Secretary General Truong Dinh Hoe, tra fish output reached 1.3 million tonnes in 2012, 650 times that in 2000, and brought home 1.8 billion USD from export, up 692 times.
One of the advantages of the industry is that great amounts can be produced using only 6,000ha of water, which is only 1 percent of that required for shrimp farming, he added.

However, too fast and spontaneous development resulted in corollary, including export price decline, from 3.76 USD/kg in 2000 to under 2.2 USD/kg in 2012, according to Hoe.

Worse still in the last two years the US’s increase of anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese tra fish has challenged the industry the official said, adding that the breeding area for the fish reduced by 13 percent while output dropped 11 percent in the first nine months of this year.

According to Doan Toi, Director of the Nam Viet Corporation - one of Vietnam’s biggest tra fish exporters and processors - breeders should cooperate with each other to develop large-scale breeding areas and apply hightechnology to ensure fish quality and quantity for export.

Delegates at the meeting suggested that exported tra fish fillets to European countries should be shipped via Belgium’s Zeebrugge port as a solution to increase export volume and market share.

VASEP statistics show that tra fish exports to the EU increased quickly between 2003-2008 with the value rising from 17 million USD to 581 USD. However, in the first eight months of this year, the figure was only 254 million USD, a year-on-year decrease of 12 percent. The market shares fell from 48 percent in 2007 to 22.4 percent in the eight-month period of 2013.-VNA