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Vietnam canned tuna exports could ‘boom’. Vietnam’s canned tuna exports could boom since the EU countries and the US are stocking up amid the COVID-19 epidemic uncertainty.

The outbreak of COVID-19 is causing EU and the US to stock up on canned tuna, and this is likely to increase demand from Vietnam this year, the Vietnam Association Seafood Exporters and Producers has said.

VASEP forecast tuna exports to increase by around 15 per cent this year from more than US$719 million last year.

Exports to the US were worth $316 million, up nearly 38 per cent from 2018.

Demand for tuna is rising in the US, especially for canned products, leading to an increase in the country’s imports in recent years.

Besides, after the US-China trade war began, importers in the country have been looking for alternative sources of supply, including Vietnam. Last year Vietnam remained the second largest tuna supplier to the US after Thailand.

But Vietnam’s tuna exports to the EU fell 11 per cent to $140 million due to the bloc’s yellow card.

Source: VASEP

Tuna concentrate mainly in Central Vietnam and the centre of the East Sea. Tuna resources of Vietnam are estimated at over 600 thousand MT; in which skipjack is the major species, accounting for more than 50% of the total pelagic fish stocks.

Annual landings (including yellowfin tuna, big-eye tuna, skipjack tuna and others) are more than 200 thousand MT. Yellowfin tuna and big-eye tuna have average stock of over 45 thousand MT, with annual catch of 17,000 to 21,000 MT.

Yellowfin tuna and big-eye tuna are caught in the 6 month period from December to June of the next year. While skipjack tuna can be caught all year round.

Tuna output in the EEZ of Vietnam is estimated at 27,000 MT. Binh Dinh is the top tuna catching province with 9,400 MT, followed by Khanh Hoa with 5,000 MT and Phu Yen with 4,000 MT.

Vietnam has been active in adopting international rules on sustainability such as IUU of EU or “Dolphin Safe” labelling of EII. In 2018, Vietnam’s tuna  exports contributes around 7.4% of total national seafood exports.