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Cheap sturgeons imported from China challenge fish farmers in Vietnam

A large number of Chinese sturgeons have been imported into Vietnam and sold in the local market at cheap prices, resulting in challenges for fish farmers in the Southeast Asian country.

The issue has been addressed by Nguyen Dinh An, head of the Lam Dong Province Cold Water Fish Development Association, on behalf of the country’s sturgeon farmers.

An has sent a letter to the national government and asked the prime minister to order the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Ministry of Public Security to verify whether or not sturgeons had been imported illegally into Vietnam from China.

Chinese sturgeons shipped through official and illegal channels have been sold at very cheap prices in the country, sparking concerns among local fish farmers.

Lam Dong’s sturgeon output was nearly 3,000 metric tons last year, An stated, adding that about 500 metric tons of sturgeons could not be sold by the end of 2020 due to competition from cheap Chinese fish.

Many sturgeon farmers and businesses in Sa Pa Town, located in the northern province of Lao Cai, also aired the similar concerns.

About 240 farms, establishments, and households in Sa Pa specialize in raising sturgeons and supply at least 500 metric tons per year.

Do Tien Thang, vice-chairman of the Lao Cai Cold Water Fish Association, has also sent several documents to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and General Department of Vietnam Customs regarding this problem.

Measures must be taken to tighten the management of sturgeon importation to deal with the difficulties local farmers have been facing, Thang stated.

According to Le Thanh Luu, an official from the Vietnam Fisheries Society, Vietnam’s sturgeon output in 2019 was recorded at 2,500 metric tons, while the amount of sturgeons imported from Chinese was 4,500 metric tons, accounting for 65 percent of market demand.

Most of these fish were imported via unofficial channels, Luu added.

Chinese sturgeons are offered at VND140,000-160,000 (US$6-6.8) per kilogram, while buyers have to pay VND200,000-240,000 ($8.5-10.2) per kilogram of Vietnamese sturgeons, the official elaborated.

Sturgeons imported from China have lower quality, but their low prices have created cut-throat competition and challenges for fish farmers in Vietnam, he continued.

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