Vietnam resumes basa catfish exports to US market

Ha Noi, Jan. 11 (VNA) -- Viet Nam resumed exports of basa catfish to U.S. markets earlier this month.

The Thanh Viet Aquatic Product Processing Factory in Can Tho Mekong delta province shipped 20 tonnes of basa catfish to the United States in the first week of January, according to the daily Saigon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon).

The factory has invested more than VND 8 billion (USD 520,000) in building a 100-tonne cold storage warehouse raising its production capacity to 80 tonnes a day. It has obtained purchasing orders from foreign partners for 2002.

The Ministry of Fisheries has requested the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accept three new commercial names for Vietnamese catfish (Tra and Basa) which are Hypo Basa, Sutchi Basa, and Trasa, according to Dr. Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and President of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (Vasep).

According to WorldCatch, a U.S. electronic newspaper on the fisheries industry, Vietnamese catfish have been imported into the U.S. since 1996.

Every month, Viet Nam exports around 500 tonnes of catfish to the United States, more than any other country. The figure represents about 2 percent of the fresh water fish consumed by American consumers.

Last year, Viet Nam shipped 32,000 tonnes of basa and tra catfish abroad, earning around USD 75 million.--VNA