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Local Vietnamese seafood industry faces shortage of input materials. Tran Van Dung, general director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Seafood Processing Import-Export JSC (Baseafood), noted that the country was running out of seafood input material, especially shrimp and tra fish, the country’s two key seafood export earners.

Earlier, fishermen spent one month on average at sea catching fish, Dung remarked, adding that it now takes them two months to return to shore after each fishing trip, so the quality of the catch cannot be guaranteed.

Dung pointed out that Baseafood’s previous seafood purchases in the province and some neighboring provinces were enough for its processing activities, but the firm now has to visit Khanh Hoa and Ca Mau provinces to seek more seafood supplies, reflecting the serious shortage.

Shrimp-raising areas located in the Mekong Delta provinces of Ca Mau, Soc Trang and Bac Lieu, with each province home to hundreds of shrimp farming facilities, have met only 50% of the demand for shrimp for processing and export activities.

As for tra fish, the Mekong Delta region has thousands of breeding farms, most of which operate on a small scale.

VASEP Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Thu Sac noted, to ease the scarcity of seafood, firms should collaborate with fishermen to engage in production chains to ensure the quality of seafood after fishing trips and improve the value of products.

Sac suggested the enterprises boost their seafood imports to stabilize processing and export activities, apart from proactively expanding their production and diversifying their import markets.

Tran Van Linh, director of Thuan Phuoc Seafood and Trading Corporation, pointed out that the Indian shrimp industry was putting pressure on Vietnamese shrimp as India’s shrimp farming facilities are developed for outbound shipments of hundreds of thousands of tons of shrimp. Further, Indian shrimp are cheaper than Vietnam’s shrimp, whose survival rate is very low at 40% against the 70% rate of shrimp farmed in many other countries.

As such, Linh underscored the need for the development of and investment in seafood farming areas, which are required to be safe and disease-free to turn out high-quality seafood, to produce enough material for processing and export activities in the long run.

Besides this, Hoe of VASEP stated that it is necessary to improve the quality of breeds to raise the survival rate of farmed shrimp or other seafood.

In addition, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien proposed that the fishery industry review and rebuild the markets for various breeds, food and equipment geared toward farming seafood to ensure their aquatic products meet high standards and are free from antibiotic residue.