This year’s seafood exports will barely hit US$4.509 billion, as it did in 2008, and is expected to only total $3.5-4 billion due to the global recession.
|Processing catfish for export|
At a meeting Friday, held by the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) in Ho Chi Minh City, the chairman, Tran Thien Hai, said, “We should acknowledge and prepare for challenges this year.”
Demand for Vietnamese seafood in major traditional markets like Japan, US, and the EU, as well as new ones like Russia and Ukraine, are declining due to the economic downturn.
Consumer patterns are also changing with people preferring cheaper varieties. Furthermore, increasing exports by neighboring countries is bringing more pressure on the industry.
Le Minh Quang, general director of Minh Phu Seafood Company and VASEP vice chairman, said exports of shrimp will decrease by a minimum 30 percent this year.
Ngo Phuoc Hau, Agifish general director and chairman of Vasep Freshwater Fish Committee, said there will be a shortage of fish in the first half of this year as 50 percent of fishponds have stopped breading fish due to left over fish from 2008.
Despite the problems, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, wants the industry to maintain exports since it “involves the livelihoods of millions of workers.”