HA NOI— There was no scientific evidence to justify naming the tra-fish on the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Red List, said Deputy Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, Pham Anh Tuan
Tuan disagreed with the fund’s 2010 seafood consumption report in which the fish is listed in several European countries and said that the announcement would cause many difficulties for Viet Nam’s tra raising industry and would adversely affect global consumer trends.
“The WWF’s information is insufficient as the fund used one sided and incorrect standards and scientific bases,” he said, adding that this would also impact on international trade relations.
He also said that the information was only released by the fund’s branches in European countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark, not the global WWF.
This week, the Directorate of Fisheries would arrange a conference to clarify the problem with the WWF’s representative in Viet Nam, Tuan said.
Tra-fish were added to the Red List due to the threat of pollution and a shortage of food.
Regarding this matter, the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) also said that no concrete evidence had been given to that effect.
In some EU countries such as Belgium and Germany, the fish had been put into different categories, according to the association.
The association also said that in the past year, tra-fish had become one of the most popular seafood products chosen by European consumers for family meals due to its safe quality and reasonable price.
VASEP confirmed that most processing and exporting companies in Viet Nam had adopted a system to ensure the quality of products “from farm to fork.” Some plants and fish breeding areas in Viet Nam had also been certified as Global GAP.
VASEP’s General Secretary Nguyen Huu Dung said Viet Nam’s catfish products were exported to over 120 countries and territories around the world, and met the stringent standards of the EU.
“VASEP has sent a letter to the head of the WWF to oppose its decision and invite representatives to visit Viet Nam and inspect tra-fish processing, preservative, and export processes,” Dung said, adding that the association was urging the WWF to give an explanation or correct the matter as soon as possible.
Chairman of Khanh Hoa’s Fisheries Association Vo Thien Lang said the addition of tra-fish to the WWF’s Red List would mean Viet Nam would lose one of three key export seafood products, which in turn, would affect adversely the Mekong Delta’s farming and processing industry.” — VNS