Pangasius on course for sustainability certification after WWF and Vietnam reach agreement

Posted on 15 December 2010

WWF, the Vietnamese government and key Vietnamese industry fisheries and acquaculture bodies today reached agreement on working together to achieve certified sustainable production of pangasius in Vietnam.
Gland, Switzerland – WWF, the Vietnamese government and key Vietnamese industry fisheries and acquaculture bodies today reached agreement on working together to achieve certified sustainable production of pangasius in Vietnam.

Vietnam is the source of 99.9 percent of Pangasius(also known as tra and basa catfish) exports, which have expanded 50-fold over the last decade. 

The agreement was announced following a meeting between WWF Global Seafood Leader, Dr. Mark Powell, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Directorate of Fisheries, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters, as well as the Vietnam Fisheries Association.

As part of this agreement, and in recognition of the Vietnamese government’s commitment to seeking sustainability certification of Vietnam’s pangasius production, WWF will place pangasius in a new “Moving Towards Certification” category in its popular seafood guide.

“WWF’s “Moving Towards Certification” category will mean that WWF will encourage seafood buyers to continue buying pangasius to support the transition,” said Dr Powell.

“The new category is intended to indicate an improving trend in the pangasius aquaculture sector. Additionally, WWF will commit to seek funding for certification processes.”

WWF produces seafood guides to advise seafood buyers on the sustainability of important seafood items. WWF’s goal is to encourage certified sustainable production of seafood to reduce harmful environmental impacts.

The agreement charts a way forward, after recent assessments saw “typical” pangasius from Vietnam downgraded in some seafood guides. The downgrading, a result of some progress towards sustainability falling behind explosive growth in the industry, underlined the need for a special and coordinated effort with seeking full sustainability certification being an ambitious target that has the potential for being a major sustainability boost for the global aquaculture industry.

“WWF stands behind our existing seafood assessments, and we are creating this additional category to support ongoing efforts to improve seafood sustainability,” Dr Powell said..

“WWF is pleased to have a strong shared commitment with the government of Vietnam and the pangasius industry to achieve certified sustainable production.”

Rigorous standards for Pangasius aquaculture were announced earlier this year, after a several year process involving all interested parites under the umbrella of the Aquaculture Dialogues, another WWF initiative to increase the environmental, economic and social sustainability of sea and freshwater foods.



For further information:

Mark Powell, Global Seafood Leader, mpowell@wwfint.org, cell +41 79 2630338

A pangasius farm in An Giang province, Vietnam
A pangasius farm in An Giang province, Vietnam
© WWF Vietnam