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Portuguese Canners Turn To Vietnam For Pre-cooked Loins

Vietnam earned over USD 4 million from tuna exports to Portugal in the first five months of this year, representing an impressive year-on-year increase of 419 percent. But the Vietnamese newspaper Business Times fears that problems over the dolphin safe status of Vietnamese tuna may slow down this expansion.

This result made Portugal one of Vietnam’s ten largest tuna importers, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In the period, Portugal imported over USD 2.5 million worth of pre-cooked tuna loins from Vietnam, up over 941 percent over the same period last year and 1.4 times higher than the 2012 figure. As a result, Vietnam becomes the second largest tuna exporter to Portugal after Spain.

Vietnam also recorded a strong surge in exporting fresh and frozen tuna products to the European country in the period, raking in more than USD 924,000, up 67 percent year-on-year.

The Southeast Asian nation ranked fourth among exporters of processed tuna products to Portugal with an export value of almost USD 809,000.

It is forecast that the exports of Vietnam’s steamed tuna fillet to the European country will continue to increase in the coming time.

However, according to the Vietnamese press with recent requirements of the Earth Island organization regarding the “Dolphin safe” label on tuna products, Vietnamese exporters will be likely to meet difficulties in maintaining its growth as present, since a significant part of country’s tuna is traditionally caught with driftnets, or floating gillnets.  Until recently Vietnamese tuna exporters had no problems obtaining EII dolphin safe status through self-certification, also no problems with the dolphin safe status of Portuguese canned tuna products, processed from Vietnamese loins were ever reported. EII already explicitly forbids the use of driftnets for 20 years.