Vietnam attaches importance to boosting seafood exports to the European market – a promising market with a huge tra fish consumption demand, an industry organisation official has said.

Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) Nguyen Huu Dung made the confirmation while receiving European Parliament Member Struan Stevenson, who highlighted the achievements of Vietnam’s tra fish (Pangasius) industry over the past decade, in Hanoi on May 16.

The nation focused on improving seafood product quality and prioritised sustainable development of the tra fish sector, Dung said. Tra fish processors have adopted international hygienic safety and environmentally friendly standards to get the Global Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certifications.

The VASEP leader also said the national fisheries sector has recorded remarkable achievements in tra fish aquaculture and exports. Tra fish ranked second among Vietnam’s seafood products in terms of export volume, Dung said, adding that the country’s present tra fish farming areas quintupled to 6,000 ha from 2001.

According to Dung, tra fish materials output rose from 37,500 tonnes in 2001 to 1.35 million tonnes in 2010 and its export value increased from 40 million USD to almost 1.43 billion USD during the review period. Among Vietnam’s 136 tra fish importers, Europe is the largest, making up 35.8 percent of the country’s total export revenues.

There were 49 tra fish processors or 45 percent of the country’s fish processors applying GlobalGAP standards. In particular, five tra fish farms were adopting the Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogues (PAD) and ASC standards.

Vietnam has signed a cooperation agreement with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on tra fish sector’s sustainable development to meet the ASC standard and the Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) for tra fish during the 2011-2015 period./.