Know your processor – and their fish
For many, they may be rereading the title again and wondering, “Pangasius? What is that?” Pangasius is a freshwater catfish found throughout Southeast Asia. They are medium-large to very large with maximum length of 120 centimeters (47 inches) and have a shark-like appearance. There are 22 species of pangasius in the region, with Pangasius bocourti (also known as Basa) being Vietnam’s most important commercial fish for both domestic and export markets. (Pangasius in this text refers only to Pangasius bocourti)
Recently the pangasius sector in Vietnam has experienced constraints due to quality demands from the market. Price fluctuations and lack of certainty in the industry have led to a lack of investment in modernization. Combined with Vietnam’s accelerating economy and increasing salary rates, it has been challenging for processors to attract and maintain a steady labor force. These factors compound the Vietnamese processor’s difficulty in training and retaining the specialized workforce needed for modern fish processing.
Collaboration for better value creation
To help strengthen the pangasius sector and share knowledge in Vietnam, Marel, in collaboration with the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, partnered with the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP), Nha Trang University and the Icelandic Fisheries College. The joint effort brought together a variety of different perspectives to bolster the pangasius sector while meeting the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 8, 9 and 17. There was a specific focus on SDG number 8 that promotes “Decent work and economic growth.”
The first step in realizing the UN SDGs was to invite two professionals from Vietnam to participate in the UN-FTP in Reykjavik, Iceland. There they met other professionals from around the world to gain insights on strategies for developing – and encouraging – sustainable fisheries. Visits to local Icelandic fish processors were particularly valuable in showing the methods and potential for significantly enhancing processing. Additionally, the Vietnamese professionals were enrolled in courses that focused on improving the quality aspects of fish processing.
Upon returning to Vietnam, symposiums were set up between the newly trained quality specialists and processors on methods to improve handling, product quality and traceability of pangasius products across the region. By sharing knowledge, the Vietnamese are positioning themselves to make the most of their valuable pangasius fisheries sustainably into the future.
Marel is pleased to have participated in this mutual effort. By leveraging our global platform of being an industry leader, we were able to share knowledge and encourage cooperation with multiple stakeholders. Along with our partners at UN-FTP, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nha Trang University, the Icelandic Fisheries College, and our colleagues in Vietnam, we are proud to have contributed directly towards an improved fishery and work towards select UN SDGs. By working together, we hope to increase the standard of living while enhancing more social and economic stability across Vietnam.
According to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the UN SDGs provides a collective blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. The 17 SDGs are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership.
- GOAL 1: No Poverty
- GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
- GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
- GOAL 4: Quality Education
- GOAL 5: Gender Equality
- GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
- GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
- GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
- GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
- GOAL 13: Climate Action
- GOAL 14: Life Below Water
- GOAL 15: Life on Land
- GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
- GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal