Shrimp exporters fear they may lose Japanese market

Published: 20/06/2011 05:00


Shrimp exporters to Japan have been entreating help of state management agencies, saying that they may lose the Japanese market if the agencies do not help in controlling the aquaculture.

The call has been made by shrimp processing companies after Japan threatened to verify 100 percent of the shrimp consignments imported from Vietnam. Meanwhile, Japan remains the biggest shrimp export market for Vietnam, and shrimp exports account for the highest proportion in the total seacooking export turnover of Vietnam.

Difficulties would force businesses to give up Japanese market

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Japan now verifies to discover trifluralin in 100 percent of the shrimp consignments imported from Vietnam, and examines to discover enrofloxacin in 30 percent of the shrimp consignments imported from Vietnam.

The decision has been made after the alert system of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan announced it has discovered two imported consignments from Vietnam containing the anti-biotic residues exceeding the allowed levels. One of the two consignments was found as containing enrofloxacin at the concentration of 0.03ppm.

Under the current Japanese laws, if Japan discovers one more consignment of imports which contains enrofloxacin residues, it will automatically raise the control level and will verify 100 percent of the imported consignments from Vietnam.

The warning has caused big worries to Vietnamese seafood exporters, who believe that antibiotics appear right in the farming process, not in the processing for export. If government agencies do not help in controlling the farming, seafood exporters will have to examine the input materials, which will cost them a lot of money, and force them to make heavy investment in the verification.

“Seafood companies have claimed that the antibiotics appear right in the farming, therefore, it is necessary to control right in the shrimp culture,” representative from VASEP said. “If enterprises have to spend money to examine the input materials for processing, the overly high expenses may force them to give up the Japanese market”.

“We need the timely support from management agencies,” he added.

In March 2011, the association sent a dispatch to the General Department of Fisheries, asking to immediately apply the measures to prevent shrimp from getting infected with antibiotics in the aquaculture in anticipation that Japan will raise the control level to 100 percent of import consignments

Japan is the biggest shrimp export market for Vietnam. In 2010, Vietnam’s shrimp export turnover to the market reached nearly 900 million dollars, an increase of 19 percent over 2009.

Black tiger prawn or white leg shrimp?

Also according to VASEP, seafood processing companies are seriously lacking shrimp materials to fulfill export contracts, because of shrimps have died in masses in coastal areas in Mekong Delta. The association has predicted that the shrimp exports in 2011 would bring the turnover of 1.8-1.9 billion dollar (it was 2.1 billion dollars in 2010).

Due to the prolonged shrimp shortage, many export companies are considering using white leg shrimp. At present, Vietnam has 212,000 hectares of black tiger prawn farming area, while the white leg shrimp farming area is smaller, about 1394 hectares.

Experts have predicted that in 2011, Vietnam’s black tiger prawn exports would just account for a little more than 50 percent, while white leg shrimp exports would make up nearly 50 percent of the total export turnover.

However, whether to develop the farming of black tiger prawn or white leg shrimp remains a question.

Le Van Quang, General Director of Minh Phu Seafood Import-Export Company, said that in good conditions, black tiger shrimp can develop better than white leg shrimp and can bring higher economic efficiency.

A manager of Thuan Phuoc Company also said that white leg shrimp is smaller than black tiger shrimp; therefore, it would require more laborers and equipment. This is not only the problem of Vietnam, but also Thailand, which has 5-6 years of farming white leg shrimp as well.

Meanwhile, farmers argue that white leg shrimp is stronger and it is easier to farm, thus bringing higher profits.


Provide by Vietnam Travel

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