ASC recognizes Vietnam’s pangasius ‘pioneers’
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) on Wednesday celebrated the achievements of the first five Vietnamese pangasius producers to gain the ASC certification for responsible aquaculture.
Vinh Hoan Corporation, Vinh Quang Fisheries Corporation, NTACO Corporation, Hung Vuong Corporation and Hoang Long Seafood Processing Company were honored during a gathering in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The event — organized by the Vietnam Directorate of Fishery (Dfish), VASEP, VINAFIS and WWF, in close cooperation with IDH and SNV — attracted more than 120 attendees, from producers and international buyers to Governance counterparts, ASC partners and media. The event also recognized that the Vietnamese pangasius sector will achieve its target to certify 10 percent of the country’s pangasius production for export under the ASC farmed responsibly program by the end of 2012.
“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 recognizes 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 percent of global pangasius exports are sourced from Vietnam. In 2011, Vietnam’s pangasius export value reached USD 1.85 billion, representing 1 percent of GDP. Over the last decade, the annual production in Vietnam has increased from 150,000 metric tons (MT) to 1.3 million MT in 2011. This explosive growth has led to unintended negative side effects. Measures have therefore been introduced to counteract this. The certification by the ASC recognizes fish farms that have met rigorous environmental and social criteria and have organized their farming methods in a demonstrably responsible manner.
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 hectares. The sector is a major provider of employment in these provinces, particularly in the processing plants that fillet and freeze pangasius for export.
“Farmed seafood already accounts for about half of all the fish and shellfish we eat,” said Jose Villalon, WWF’s VP of aquaculture and chairman of the ASC board. “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.”