Vietnam’s tra fish export to drop 45% in 2011

Vietnam, the source of 99.9% of tra and basa fish exports, expects to reduce outbound shipments of the fish by a hefty 45% to some 360,000 tons next year from this year’s 640,000 tons, said the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep).

Duong Ngoc Minh, vice chairman of Vasep, told a review conference in HCMC on Tuesday on tra and basa production and export that production in 2011 would take a nosedive due to falling profit margins and capital shortages. Therefore, Minh said, the association targets an export volume of just 360,000 tons worth an estimated US$1 billion next year, a reduction of US$400 million from this year.

Minh said the association based its forecast on the current farming situation as well as fish processors’ difficulty in accessing bank loans.

“Over the past two years, banks have turned their back to fish farmers and processors. Whether the development of these types of Vietnamese catfish will be sustained or not largely depends on the support of banks,” he told the gathering.

Nguyen Thanh Bien, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, admitted at the conference that capital remained a bottleneck for fish farmers and traders.

In 2011, Bien said, the biggest challenge facing the country will continue to be the financial-monetary issue. “Credit growth will be lower (than this year) because the Government wants to ensure macroeconomic stability and to fight inflation, and therefore, the interest rate will stay high, at least in the first few months of 2011,” he said.

To Thi Tuong Lan, deputy general secretary of Vasep, told the conference that Vietnam shipped abroad some 640,000 tons of tra and basa fish products in 2010. However, as the fish stock is depleting due to unfavorable farming and trading conditions, the volume for next year will fall sharply, she said.

Vasep estimates that of 360,000 tons of fish products targeted for next year, the European market will consume some 210,000 tons and the U.S. market some 40,000 tons.

Vietnam is exporting tra and basa fish fillets to 163 countries and territories worldwide, as according to WWF, the country is the source of 99.9% of tra and basa fish exports.

Source: VASEP

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