Pioneers for responsibly farmed pangasius recognized
In 2010, WWF, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and the Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS) signed a Cooperation Agreement to support efforts to improve environmental and social responsibility in the pangasius industry in order to achieve ASC certification. Parties to the Cooperation Agreement committed to supporting pangasius producers to achieve 100 per cent of farmed pangasius production for export under one of several certification schemes by 2015, with 50 per cent of this under the ASC by 2015, and 10 per cent by 2012.
About 30 of Vietnam’s biggest pangasius producers are supported by the parties to the Cooperation Agreement; WWF, VASEP, VINAFIS – and in close cooperation with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), Anova and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) – in their efforts to achieve ASC certification.
Event applauds producers achieving ASC certificationThe event - organized by the Vietnam Directorate of Fishery (D-Fish), VASEP, VINAFIS and WWF, in close cooperation with IDH and SNV - brought together responsible pangasius producers and international buyers to applaud producers achieving ASC certification and to sign purchase agreements.
“These pioneering companies are setting an example for the wider industry. If the market responds appropriately, a major shift of the industry to responsible farming methods will be triggered,” said Dr. Nguyen Huu Dzung, VASEP Vice President. “Adopting responsible practices will also increase the future sustainability of the industry in Vietnam, protecting income and employment for the long term.”
Corporations including Vinh Hoan, Hung Vuong, NTACO and Hoang Long, recently achieved ASC certification and are among the biggest pangasius producers in the Mekong Delta. The ASC certification guarantees that the pangasius is farmed in a responsible manner with minimal negative impact on the environment, farm staff and surrounding communities.
Among the producers attending the event, Huong Vuong Corporation was the first producer to express its commitment to ASC, and recently achieved ASC certification for its farm in Phu Tuc in the Mekong Delta.
“Complying with the ASC standard is not only environmentally responsible, it’s also good for business as it opens doors to new markets in Europe and the US,” said Mr. Duong Ngoc Minh, Chairman of the Management Board of Hung Vuong Corporation. “With ASC-labeled products we can grow our business while assuring consumers they’re buying a responsibly farmed product.”
Most of Vietnam’s pangasius farms are located in the Mekong Delta provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap and Can Tho. Farms vary in size from less than 1 hectare in size, to more than 100 ha. The sector is a major provider of employment in these provinces, particularly in the processing plants that fillet and freeze pangasius for export.
The fastest growing food production system in the world.“Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system in the world, and its rapid expansion has not come without impacts,” said Chris Ninnes, ASC’s CEO. “ASC certification recognises and rewards farms that are following responsible practices. This includes conservation of water resources, no misuse of antibiotics, responsible use of feed, and behaving in a socially responsible manner.”
More than 90 per cent of world exports of pangasius is sourced from Vietnam. In 2011, Vietnam’s pangasius export value reached USD1.85 billion representing 1 per cent of GDP - making it an important sector for Vietnam.
“Farmed seafood already accounts for about half of all the fish and shellfish we eat,” said Jose Villalon, WWF’s Vice President of Aquaculture. “When done responsibly, aquaculture presents a solution to meeting the increasing food demand of a growing global population. WWF applauds producers in Vietnam who have achieved ASC certification and we are committed to working with industry leaders eager to embrace sustainability.”