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Tuna – Vietnams #4 Foreign Exchange Earner

The outlook for the country’s seafood exports is forecast to be dismal this year due to a plunge in global consumer demand but the potential for tuna export remains strong, according to exporters.
T
he Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep) said demand for tunas would grow strongly in key foreign markets such as the European Union, Japan, Israel and the United States.

While tunas are in great demand, the output in major exporting countries is dwindling, said the association.

Last year saw 84 domestic companies exporting about 53,000 tons of tuna at a total value of US$189 million, up 25% year-on-year. The key importers were the EU with around US$63 million, the U.S. with nearly US$55 million and Japan with US$23 million. Israel is a new export market for Vietnamese companies but its tuna imports from Vietnam last year grew 191% year-on-year to US$6.4 million.

The nationwide fleet of tuna fishing boats, mostly in south-central Vietnam, numbers more than 1,500.

The country’s 2008 seafood outbound sales rose 20% from the previous year to US$4.5 billion, with tunas classified as the seafood industry’s fourth biggest foreign currency earner after tiger shrimp, catfish and squid/octopus.