NATIONAL
Friday ,Dec 10,2010, Posted at: 15:12(GMT+7)
WWF Vietnam removes Vietnamese catfish from red list

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Vietnam said in a statement issued on December 9, Vietnamese tra and basa catfish should be retracted from a red list has now stirred a ‘barrage of criticism’.

Farmers in the Mekong delta harvest tra fish. WWF Vietnam said Vietnamese tra and basa catfish should be moved out of the red list in six European countries

WWF in Vietnam announced it had not participated in the assessment, which was undertaken by WWF offices in six European countries, as it has just received standards from the parent organization in Europe.

WWF’s 19 criteria points, provided to the General Department of Fisheries (DOF), part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Development, are actually questions centering on 4 main aspects including two assessment documents of production system, impacts on local ecosystems, quality of fish feed and fish farm management processes, said Pham Anh Tuan, DOF’s deputy director on December 9 in response to reporters’ questions related to WWF’s recommendation of Vietnamese tra fish in the Consumer Guide 2010-2011.

“Right after receiving the assessment document from WWF Vietnam, we felt so disappointed because most of the 19 questions were carelessly compiled and WWF based two sources of poor data collection. That is, an article published in World Aquaculture Magazine and the other assessment on the impact on local ecosystems by Holland’s Wageningen University.”

WWF Vietnam asserted that it would help the relevant Vietnamese authorities and industry associations, including DOF, to resolve the issue.

WWF global seafood leader Mark Powell is expected to fly to the Southeast Asian nation next week to answer any questions surrounding the 19 criteria, which WWF used to assess the quality of Vietnamese catfish.

It is regrettable that a number of the European WWF offices have released non-objective and scientifically groundless and impractical assessment on the tra fish, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga.

Nga said this would seriously hurt the livelihood of Vietnamese aquaculture farmers as well as European consumers and would not benefit the growing economic and commercial relations between Vietnam and European countries.

Ms. Nga said; “Over the past years, Vietnam has strictly controlled its aquaculture sector from planning, production and processing. Moreover, the country farmers have applied highest international standards on aqua-production while satisfying food hygiene and safety requirements and protecting the environment in accordance with international criteria”.

She also went on to say, “Many of Vietnamese high quality aqua-products have been exported to world markets and are enjoyed by many international consumers”. Ms Nga said, “ We have ask WWF offices in European countries to remove Vietnamese tra fish from the red list, to release the assessment criteria and make judgements that accurately reflect the production and export. Vietnam would welcome WWF experts and facilitate their fact-finding activities in the hope that they would be able to assess the industry accurately.”

By staff writers - Translated by Van Huyen
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