Vietnam is making progress toward its ultimate goal of becoming the world’s biggest exporter of seafood. Currently in 4th place behind China, Norway and Thailand, Vietnam exported $6.1 billion in aquacultural products in 2011 and aims for $6.5 billion for this year.
The shrimp industry alone, centered in Ca Mau Province at the southernmost tip of the Mekong Delta, aims for export sales exceeding $1 billion after selling a record $910 million in global market last year. Another growing export product is the tra, a white fish processed in several provinces in the Mekong region.
Vietnam is somewhat more aggressive than most countries in using aquaculture technology to produce and process its fish exports as opposed to capturing seafood products fron natural sources. As such, it faces challenges that include the need to develop larger cultivation areas, improved technology, better safety standards, and shortages of raw material to keep processing facilities busy — forcing exporters to spend $500 million on imports.
Vietnam is aiming for $10 billion in seafood exports by 2020, which would challenge China as the world’s leader.