WWF mistakenly puts Vietnamese catfish on red list

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had mistakenly put Vietnamese tra and basa catfish on the red list.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had mistakenly put Vietnamese tra and basa catfish on the red list.

This was confirmed by a WWF global seafood leader at a working session with the General Department of Fisheries (DOF) in Hanoi on December 15.  

Mark Powell promises that he would soon remove both tra and basa catfish from their ‘do not buy’ red list (Photo: SGGP)
Mark Powell promises  that he would soon remove both tra and basa catfish from their ‘do not buy’ red list (Photo: SGGP)

Mark Powell, a WWF global seafood leader has promised that he would soon remove both tra and basa catfish from their ‘do not buy’ red list.

Powell admitted that the WWF offices in Europe had not updated their data on the tra fish farming industry in Vietnam since 2008.

The earlier data recorded Vietnam to have 360 hectares of tra farming in 89 different farms, though in actual fact Vietnam has close to 6,000 hectares at present.

Powell admitted his mistake in assessing the facts on Vietnamese tra fish. He added that he would take full responsibility for any published reports in the Seafood Guide (2010-2011) which was already in circulation in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark.

However, he emphasized that the list was just a guide to advice consumers on the sustainability of important seafood items and should not be seen as a trade barrier. Its real goal was to encourage certifiable and sustainable products of seafood and to reduce any harmful environmental effects.

At a press conference, Powell announced that WWF would soon withdraw their statement on Vietnamese tra cat fish from the organization’s website. Furthermore, WWF would release a new consumer guide which would inform people all over the world that Vietnamese tra cat fish was safe to consume.

WWF pledged to work with Vietnamese authorities to achieve certified sustainable catfish production plans in Vietnam.

DOF and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) invited Mark Powell to have a trip to the Mekong delta to examine the tra fish breeding farms; however, the WWF leader couldn’t accept the invitation due to his own business.

Nguyen Huu Dung, vice chairman of VASEP, appreciated the visit of Mark Powell, saying that his visit to Vietnam showed his goodwill. WWF will put Vietnamese tra and basa fish on special items (not green, yellow or red).

Pham Anh Tuan, DOF’s deputy director, agreed with Dung statement, adding WWF showed its cooperative behaviors to the issue.

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