Tra fish is one of three key aquatic exports of Vietnam, alongside shrimp and tuna. According to Chairman of the Vietnam Pangasius Association Duong Nghia Quoc, eight Mekong Delta provinces have to date farmed Tra fish on 4,033 hectares of water surface for an annual yield of 814,086 tonnes.
In January-July, tra fish shipped overseas reeled in nearly US$1.2 billion, up about 20% year-on-year.
General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Truong Dinh Hoe said the figure means Vietnam exported US$200 million of Tra fish on a monthly average, up US$50 million compared to the same periods in recent years.
He added that the August – December period is when Tra fish exports reach full swing. If the US$200 million-per-month export is sustained, turnover this year could reach at least US$2 billion, 20% higher than 2017, Hoe projected.
He also pointed to a shortage of materials for Tra fish processing, which will possibly last until April 2019, as the number of farmed fish has been failing to meet demand from plants. Therefore, prices of both Tra fish materials and exports are high, he said.
In the first half of 2018, prices of Tra fish materials were at VND25,000 – 27,000 per kg, between VND4,500 and 7,000 higher than the average price of 2017.
Meanwhile, shrimp and tuna exports are predicted to hit US$4-4.2 billion and hit US$560 million by year’s end, respectively.
Hoe explained the export of the three major products often makes up 70% of the total fishery exports, while overseas shipments of other aquatic products (including tuna) often contribute about US$3 billion to the sum.
He said the US$9 billion export target set for the sector in 2018 is within reach.
In the first eight months of 2018, fishery exports were estimated at US$5.47 billion.