Stricter Sturgeon Controls Needed10 July 2013
VIET NAM - The combined efforts of agencies are required to prevent the illegal import of sturgeon and to protect local farmers and ensure public health, it was announced at a workshop.
Viet Nam News reports that the call was made by representatives from fishery associations, aquaculture research institutes and businesses in response to the increasing volume of illegally imported sturgeon flooding the market.
According to estimates by the Viet Nam Sturgeon Corporation, up to 15 tonnes (equivalent to 5,000 tonnes per year) of sturgeon are illegally brought into Viet Nam daily.
Meanwhile, local businesses are able to supply 1,000 tonnes of sturgeon annually, meeting around 20 per cent of consumer demand.
Chairman of the Viet Nam Cold Water Fish Association, Tran Van Hao, emphasised the need to increase border controls and trace the origin of sturgeon imported into the country.
Raising public awareness about finding high-quality products with proven origin was also important, Mr Hao said, adding that if no measures were taken, the country's sturgeon farming industry would gradually break down, affecting thousands of labourers.
Tran Cao Muu, Secretary General of the Viet Nam Fisheries Society, said authorised agencies should increase inspections and management of sturgeon in the markets, while strengthening quarantines for fresh products at international airports.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said that the ministry had asked the Animal Health Department to tighten control over the transport of the fish and destroy all products without clear origin.
She pledged that stricter management would be enforced at local sturgeon-raising farms, particularly along border areas, to prevent them from becoming "transit stations" for illegally imported fish.
The National Agro-forestry-fisheries Quality Assurance Department had taken samples of the fish imported from China and would soon publicise the test results, Thu said.
The ministry has proposed that the Ministry of Public Security help investigate and strictly punish local farmers found working with Chinese businessmen to localise Chinese sturgeon before entering Vietnamese markets.
Chinese sturgeon are sold at a price of VND70,000 (over US$3) per kg while Vietnamese sturgeon cost three times the amount.
TheFishSite News Desk