The Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on June 22.
Under the MoU, both sides pledged to work together to promote responsible aquaculture in Vietnam through a step-by-step approach from VietGAP to ASC certification.
According to Pham Anh Tuan, Deputy Head of the Directorate of Fisheries, aquaculture is one of four key sectors in Vietnam’s fisheries and accounts for 60 percent of the total output, which is expected to rise to 70 percent by 2020.
In order to promote sustainable aquaculture, Tuan said the MARD issued the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP).
Both sides reviewed the differences between VietGAP and ASC and agreed to implement a joint project to create guidance for VietGAP certified farmers to help them progress to the ASC certification.
Chris Ninnes, Managing Director of the ASC, said his group is engaging with a tier of farmers through this project that are not currently able to meet ASC requirements, including smallholders, who will benefit from greater support in improving their practices.
This approach will also enable the ASC to become a more efficient service provider by reducing costs for producers who wish to gain ASC certification, he said, adding that the ASC has granted quality certifications to around 3,000 labels on the market and over 500,000 tonnes of products.
In 2014, the Vietnamese Government issued Decree No 36/2014/ND-CP on growing, processing and exporting catfish, stipulating that farms must receive VietGAP or equivalent certifications by the end of 2015, evidence of the Vietnamese Government’s commitment to developing sustainable aquaculture.