Attending were representatives of D-Fish, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of provinces/cities in the Mekong River Delta region. Apart from them, there were representatives from professtional associations, research institutes, universities.
In the face of requests of traceability for aquaculture products to meet new requirements from the EU, China and some other markets and the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) applies by the US Department of Commerce's from December 31, 2018, including brackish shrimp exported to the US market, the prerequisites for seafood products exported to the above markets are to declaration of origin and prove the legality of the products.
Implementing the Fisheries Law 2017 and guiding documents on aquaculture management, D-Fish has coordinated with localities to carry out registration of cage culture, target species cultured in the Mekong River Delta. Therefore, information about each farming area including an area, production, product traceability has been caught by management agencies, production units, businesses and trading partners so that product information will be transparent and the quality of products will be controlled to meet requirements and standards of the markets. However, a process of aquaculture registration has been still slow, partly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The registration of aquaculture in cages, main aquatic species has been done under the Decree 26/2019/ND-CP dated March 8, 2019, by the Government defining guidelines for implementation of the Law of Fisheries. Up to now, many localities in the whole country have issued codes for pangasius farming units, brackish water shrimp farming units and cage culture units. In the Mekong River Delta, the provinces of Soc Trang, Kien Giang, Ca Mau, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Bac Lieu have been focusing on promoting the numbering of ponds for two species of shrimp and pangasius. However, the implementation process still faces some issues.
At the conference, delegates said that, nowadays, in the implementation process, the propaganda and guidance on procedures of registration for culture of target aquatic species and cage culture have not been paid sugfficiently attention. Therefore, up to now, registration of target aquatic species has remained limited. Many organizations and individuals who are raising shrimp in inefficient rice-growing land allowed to convert to aquaculture land have not yet carried out procedures for conversion of use purposes.
D-Fish noted that the EVFTA agreement between Vietnam and EU came into effect. According to the Agreement, nearly 50% of the tariff lines with the base tax rate of 0 - 22% will be reduced to 0%, notably frozen black tiger shrimp and white leg shrimp. (HS code 03061792) was reduced from the applicable level of 4.2% (GSP tax) to 0% as of August 1, 2020. This is a clear advantage for Vietnamese exporters over other shrimp exporters such as Thailand, India, Indonesia and Ecuador when negotiating with EU importers. However, to take advantage of the tariff preferences, it is neccesary to have a stable sources of raw materials that ensure quality, food safety and hygiene to meet standards and regulations of EU market. Enterprises must know how to make full use of effectively, flexibly and honestly the Agreement's rules of origin. Therefore, product traceability must be strictly implemented. Therefore, localities and businesses need to step up issue of codes of farming areas, registration of aquaculture areas, cultured cages, etc.
Concluding the conference, Mr Tran Dinh Luan, Director-General of D-Fish suggested localities need to strictly implement registration of aquatic species cultured in cages, target aquatic species, especially black tiger shrimp and white shrimp in accordance with regulations of the Fisheries Law, the Decree No26/2019/NĐ-CP and other guiding documents. Management agencies shall review and carry out solutions to make the most favourable conditions for people in implemention of administrative procedures for issuing certificates of shrimp farming establishments. He also asked professional associations and business communities actively coordinate in propaganda and guiding shrimp and pangasius farming units for export to register of issuing codes according to the rules and requirements from import markets. Establishments and shrimp farmers need to strictly follow the rules of registration, code issuance and to improve product quality, reduce production costs, at the same time apply farming methods conformable to standards of VietGAP, GlobalGAP, ASC.