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Worries Of Vietnams Tuna Quality, When Growth Continues

Vietnam’s tuna exports have earned USD 154 million so far this year, a year-on-year increase of 19 percent, and the highest growth among seafood exports from the country.

However, its growth also causes concerns – a drop in tuna quality has resulted in a sharp fall in price.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), since the beginning of this year the US has imported USD 57 million worth of Vietnamese tuna, an increase of 3 percent from the same period last year. It is followed by the European Union with USD 32 million (up 37 percent) and ASEAN with USD 9.4 million (up 81 percent).

Nevertheless, despite the high output, the quality of tuna is being threatened by an increasing number of fishermen using high pressure lamps to reduce costs and increase productivity.

As a result, tuna prices have seen a continuous decline over the past months, from VND 60,000-VND 65,000 (USD 3) per kilo to VND 50,000-VND 55,000.

Meanwhile, increases in the prices of fuel, ice and other necessities raise fishing costs from VND 150 million (USD 7,200) to VND 170 million for a month-long fishing trip.

Low incomes have made many fishermen quit and do other jobs. Now, a large number of ships in central provinces like Phu Yen and Binh Dinh cannot go fishing due to a lack of labor.

Chairman of the Vietnam Tuna Association Vu Dinh Dap forecasts a record tuna output of 17,000-18,000 tons this year. To enhance the quality, fishermen should avoid using high pressure lamps and use traditional fishing methods, he suggests.