Tuesday,  Dec 11, 2018,05:19 (GMT+7) 0 0
Stiff fines proposed for banned substances in aquaculture
The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Sep 24, 2018,17:17 (GMT+7)

Stiff fines proposed for banned substances in aquaculture

The Saigon Times Daily

A woman feeds her fish at a farm along the Hau River in Can Tho City. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed imposing heavy fines on organizations and individuals who trade, import, make and use banned substances for aquatic cultivation – PHOTO: TRUNG CHANH

HCMC - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed imposing heavy fines ranging from VND100 million to VND200 million on organizations and individuals who trade, import, make and use banned substances for aquatic cultivation, the local media reported.

Commenting on the move, Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said that if importers detect banned substances in any batches of seafood, they issue a warning and assign an inspection team to Vietnam. They may even place a ban on imports of seafood from Vietnam, resulting in hefty losses.

Aside from proposing regulations, the ministry has issued a list of veterinary medicine, chemicals and antibiotics that are banned or restricted from use in the seafood sector.

Many local farmers are in the habit of using fertilizers, veterinary medicine and animal feed on the recommendation of retailers, without acknowledging which of these substances might be prohibited. Consequently, banned substances are widely sold in the market, stoking great concern among seafood exporters.

Despite having over 10 years of experience in shrimp farming, Duong Van Sen, a farmer in Soc Trang Province, admitted that he would visit animal feed stores to buy new products recommended by retailers and did not know which should not be used in farming.

Sen added that many farmers in the Mekong Delta region are incapable of reading product names and ingredients in foreign languages, adding that they could not access the list of banned substances anyway. The competent authorities thus have to prohibit imports and the smuggling of banned products as well as address violations based on prevailing regulations.

According to the Department of Animal Health under the ministry, antibiotics enter farming ponds through veterinary medicine importers, direct purchase by farmers and smuggling through border areas.

In recent years, the aquaculture sector has seen a slight fall in the use of banned substances among farmers. Data from an undefined source shows that 181 batches of seafood received a warning on food safety in 2015, of which, 40 batches were deemed to be contaminated and were returned. Meanwhile, in 2016, the number of batches that received a warning dropped to 128 units and continued dropping to 23 units in the first quarter of this year.

Most markets around the world are placing great emphasis on food safety. In addition, advanced equipment enables people to easily check the content of chemicals, antibiotics and other substances in seafood products. Therefore, Vietnam must adopt stringent measures to prevent the use of banned items in aquaculture so that local seafood can enter overseas markets, particularly those with high potential such as the United States, Japan and Europe.

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