More News and Impressions from Sea Port's GOAL 2014 attendance in Vietnam
During October National Seafood Month Sea Port attended the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL 2014 conference (Global Outlook on Aquaculture Leadership) held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. While in the country, we ventured to the Mekong Delta to visit several producers of seafood. We returned home with great enthusiasm for seafood, as well as a deep appreciation for all the Vietnamese people who contribute so much to our aquaculture industry.
Listed below are a few highlights and observations from both the GOAL conference and our seafood travels throughout the Vietnamese countryside:
- The EMS disease crisis, while creating a great set-back in the production of shrimp, has now created a positive wave of new aquaculture technologies and practices while also motivating shrimp farmers to adhere more strictly to current best aquaculture practices. Many industry leaders, including the Global Aquaculture Alliance have worked together to find the cause and ways to mitigate this disease. Exciting progress in terms of EMS:
- One exciting announcement was the possible discovery of an EMS resistant strain of white shrimp!
- GAA Announced the development of a Zone Management Standard. This standard will assist small farmers to “cluster” with other farms in close proximity, essentially being its own co-op and will provide veterinary services, best management practices, information sharing, etc. This will be a huge help to farmers.
- Tilapia has been a key player in reducing the risk of EMS – How? Farmers in Vietnam have found that the use of the polyculture farming technique has helped reduce the outbreak of EMS in their farm. Farmers are growing shrimp with Tilapia. (And subsequently are now producing that Tilapia).
- The upward trajectory of worldwide farmed shrimp output has returned and the speculation at the GOAL conference was that we may see a doubling of production in ten years!
- Other conference buzz included the need for all seafood stakeholders to work harmoniously to help reduce and simplify seafood certification schemes; producers expressed frustration of how much time and money is spent on implementing different sustainability requirements from various customers. Producers requested buyers to harmonize their requirements to make their efforts much more efficient.
- Sea Port experienced firsthand how disappointed Vietnamese shrimp farmers were that the US Department of Commerce imposed the highest import duties ever on their production. Just as EMS is being successfully mitigated and credit is finally becoming more available to finance pond stockings, these duties were seen as ill-timed, wholly unnecessary, and running counter to the spirit of last year’s U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership agreement
- Sea Port’s overall impression of Vietnam and its people was overwhelmingly positive. All the Vietnamese stakeholders along the seafood supply chain were extremely hard working, highly skilled, and motivated to advance economically. We believe that the production of sustainably produced seafood for international trade creates tremendous opportunity for many Viatnamese people.
Trading seafood with this rapidly developing nation will strengthen ties and help heal old wounds of war. The Vietnamese people are industriously pursuing a seafood future that will not only positively transform their economic state of wellbeing but also greatly serve a world hungering for more healthy and sustainable seafood.