Vietnam’s catfish exports face bad press in Europe


VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam’s catfish industry has encountered bad press in recent months. Carrefour, the largest retail group in Europe, announced the stop of the sale of Vietnam’s catfish in Spain, Italy, France and countries where the group has branches.

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Meanwhile, several newspapers in Europe reported that some schools in Spain have refused to buy Vietnam’s catfish.

Truong Dinh Hoe, secretary general of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said that in the last 10 years, Vietnam has struggled against unhealthy competition and slandering campaigns triggered by rivals.

According to Hoe, in January 2017, Cuatro TV in Madrid gave false information about Vietnam’s catfish farmed in the Mekong River. The report said the catfish was being bred in unclean cages and not fed standard fish, but dead fish and other waste, which was why Vietnamese could provide fish at such low prices.

Hoe said the report only showed images about the breeding of ‘ca hu’ (Pangasius conchophilus Roberts & Vidthayanon), not the breeding of ‘ca tra’, or tra fish (Pangasiidae) in cages. He said that the images from some faming households do not represent the entire Vietnamese catfish industry.

In the last 10 years, Vietnam has struggled against unhealthy competition and slandering campaigns triggered by rivals.

VASEP has sent an official document to the TV channel, saying that the information provided was wrong and proving progress and safety in Vietnam’s catfish farming and processing.

Nguyen Van Dao, general director of Go Dang JSC, said the volume of catfish distributed by Carrefour is not high, so the distribution interruption has not had a big impact on Vietnam’s catfish consumption.

However, he feared that if international mass media continued speaking ill of Vietnam’s catfish, the catfish industry will suffer in the time to come.

The representatives of other seafood companies said the media campaigns to slander Vietnam’s catfish have been launched not only in Spain, but also in Australia, Italy, Germany and France, because Vietnam’s catfish has become more popular in the world market. In Europe, Vietnam’s catfish is a strong rival to many other white-meat fish.

Many international organizations have raised their voice in defense of Vietnam’s catfish.

ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council), in its press release, said that Vietnam’s catfish, bred in accordance with ASC standards, is safe to consumers.

GAA (Global Aquaculture Alliance) also said that catfish is bred in Vietnam in a responsible manner which complies with strict requirements on food hygiene, and that the catfish is safe to consumers.

Most fish ponds in Vietnam have international certificates on good agricultural practices such as BAP, GlobalGAP and ASC.


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