The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has strongly protested the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA)’s redefinition of “catfish” to include Vietnamese pangasius and attempt to impose more restrictions for the entry of pangasius into the US.

At a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on June 8, VASEP said that on May 24, 2010, the CFA posted on its website false information aimed at sullying Vietnam ’s tra fish products.

This amounts to unfair competition by the American catfish farmers against Vietnamese pangasius farmers and processors, the association said.

In fact, Vietnamese farmers no longer raise pangasius in floating cages in the Mekong River, but in earthern farming ponds which meet SQF1000 standard and other international standards for stringent hygiene and safety assurance.

Currently, Vietnamese pangasius enterprises have developed integrated production chains to ensure food safety “from-farm-to-table”. More and more pangasius farming areas in Vietnam have been granted Global GAP certifications, ensuring the cleanest and safest farming conditions.

The results of the frequent monitoring and observation since 2004 conducted by the Centre for Environmental Monitoring under the Programme for Environmental Monitoring and Observation for Aquaculture in the Mekong River basin show that the parameters for water quality are within the threshold and meet the standards for fresh water fish farming.

Since 1999, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has deployed a programme for inspecting toxic chemical residue in farmed seafood, which has been working effectively. This programme has been inspected and highly commended for its regulatory system and practical control functions by competent governmental agencies in the EU, the US , and Canada .

Vietnamese pangasius products, which have been exported to over 120 countries and territories in the world, meet the stringent quality standards in force in the EU, Australia , the US and Japan .

Therefore, VASEP has officially raised its voice asking the CFA to remove the clearly false information about Vietnamese pangasius posted on its website and reload objective and accurate information in order to ensure US consumers’ legitimate rights and not to cause adverse impacts to good relations between the two countries./.