Ben Tre hard clam fishery Viet Nam and SEA first to receive MSC certificate

The World Wild Fund on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, posted news on its Website that said that Ben Tre's hard clam fishery had been granted with a certificate the day before by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for sustainable methodology of sea resources exploitation. The article quoted MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howes as saying that Ben Tre's hard clam fishery was the first of Viet Nam and the South East Asia region to achieve such a certificate. The WWF article also quoted Ms Meredith Lopuch, deputy director of the WWF-US Fisheries Program's Major Buyer Initiative, as saying: "As the first MSC-certified fishery in Southeast Asia, the Ben Tre clam fishery will play a key role in demonstrating how certification can conserve resources, preserve local communities, and positively impact the bottom line for business - all at the same time."

The MSC Website said Ben Tre's clam was harvested by hand or usually with the help of small metal rakes and a net pocket to allow the return of small clams. "The width of the rake and the mesh size on the net must abide by the regulations of management organizations", it said.

This is the crucial point that defines the sustainability of the method to harvest clams in Ben Tre, and so it services to prove Ben Tre's clam fishery as sustainable, qualified for an MSC certificate.

Following the achievement of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) standards in a number of processors, Ben Tre's frozen clam meat and other clam products have increasingly been exported to international markets such as the EU, Japan, China, Taiwan and the USA.

"Although our clams are largely familiar to the EU market, we are still thinking of ways to better promote our business overseas,"said Tran Thi Thu Nga, Vice Director of Ben Tre Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and was quoted by the WWF Website. "MSC certification gives us the right to promote our products with the credible MSC ecolabel to customers worldwide," she added.

Ben Tre has 10 cooperatives with 8.744 member households and another 35 cooperating units that specialised in clam fishery, which are based mainly in the province's three sea-front districts of Ba Tri, Binh Dai and Thanh Phu. The harvestable ground area is about 9,600 hectares while the total of more than 15,000 hectares of area that clams may be grown.

The annual gross volume of clam (commercial and breeding) stand between 8,000 and 27,000 metric tonnes. At the cooperatives, the surpluses from selling the commercial clams are shared among members in 3 forms: members' gain in equity share, personal incomes from clam harvesting work norm and welfare contributions.

Since 2007, Ben Tre's clam fishery has been put under the MSC certification process co-sponsored by Ben Tre DARD and the WWF. Ms Tran Thi Thu Nga, who played the main role in assisting the cooperatives to follow the MSC process, said that the MSC purpose was to encourage the development of a fishing model that serves for eco-environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. Only when confirmed to fully abide by the MSC principles and standards is a clam fishery allowed to use the MSC logo to label its clam products. Particularly, Ben Tre aquatic industry may also take full use of this model to development sustainable production models for other fisheries such as tiger prawn, cat fish, road clawed crayfish, etc.

At the Rang Dong Fishery Cooperative (in Thoi Thuan Commune, Binh Dai District) - a pioneering cooperative in clam fishing that is cooperated and managed by the community, there is a reality that clam fishing is harmonized with the protection of natural environment. Processing factories there are also closely connected to the materials base. And, what is most important is that profits from the clam fishery contribute greatly to poverty eradication among Ben Tre's seaside community.

With the right to use the MSC ecolabel, Ben Tre's clam should be able to sail farther into the world vast markets. But, the MSC certificate is subject to reassessment after five years. So, it is important that the fishery, local authorities and the fishing community should act properly to keep on well with good practices having been carried out over the time.

Translated by Truong Hung

Written by: 

Similar By Terms