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Seafood producers oppose move urging shoppers to avoid trafish

VietNamNet Bridge - The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has objected to the World Wide Fund's decision to transfer tra catfish to the red from the yellow list in its latest guides.

Consumers are encouraged to look for an alternative choice other than the red-listed species.

The WWF allows consumers to buy from the yellow list but suggests they choose as secondary green-listed species.

Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper quotes VASEP chairman Truong Dinh Hoe as saying a letter opposing the new classification had been sent to WWF global seafood coordinator Mark Powell.

The association had also invited WWF representatives to make a fact-finding tour of Vietnam's fish farms as well as the tra catfish processing, preserving and exporting process.

The WWF had accepted the invitation and planned for its representatives to make the visit in May.


The association believed the tra catfish was on the red list because of "problems" relating to the environment, feed, chemicals and medicine used in its farming.

But there was evidence to support the accusation.

WWF coordinator Powell told Intrafish - the news and information provider to global seafood professionals - that the downgrading stemmed from "problems with governance".

"Changes can take place when we have new information," he said.

But the seafood guides carried different or more detailed ratings, depending on what was available in the market.

So organic pangasius, tra catfish, was on the green list in Germany but on the yellow as well as red list in Belgium - where the red-list classification was for fish sold by the Delhaize Group.

Most of Vietnam's tra catfish processing and export companies have built quality systems from breeding to processing.

Many have been granted with the Global GAP certification - the world measure of standards for agricultural produce, including aqua culture.

The standards are primarily designed to reassure consumers that production of their chosen food includes minimal detrimental environmental impact; limited use of chemicals and ensures worker health and safety and animal welfare.

Vietnam's tra catfish are exported to more than 120 countries including the US and the European Union.

Source: VNA

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