The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) made a splash at the Vietnam Fisheries International Exhibition (Vietfish 2014) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in early August.

In addition to exhibiting at the three-day exhibition — hosted by the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and organized by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) — GAA actively participated in the opening ceremony and conference program and met individually with a number of key industry leaders, in an effort to advance the organization’s mission of feeding the world through responsible aquaculture.

img_4529“Vietfish was a great experience for GAA, giving us the opportunity to renew old ties with groups like VASEP while forging new relationships with groups like the Vietnamese Pangasius Association (VPA). We were touched by the generosity and hospitality provided, and viewed this as a great business opportunity,” Peter Redmond, VP of market development for GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) division.

“Vietfish also was a great opportunity to familiarize ourselves with both the supply chain of the aquaculture industry and get to know the vibrant city of Ho Chi Minh City.”

Vietfish 2014 kicked off with opening ceremony on the morning of Aug. 6, and Peter Redmond, VP of market development for GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) division, was among the distinguished guests invited to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

On the evening of Aug. 6, GAA attended the welcome reception and took to the stage to present an award to three Vietnamese companies for their commitment to the BAP third-party certification program. Minh Phu Seafood Group, Stapimex Group and UTXI Aquatic Products Processing Group were recognized with GAA’s “Commitment to Excellence” award for their dedication to responsible aquaculture and the BAP program. All three companies are among the six companies qualified to offer four-star BAP shrimp, denoting that the companies’ shrimp processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills are BAP certified.

img_1261Carson Roper, BAP’s international business development manager, presented the award to (from left to right) Minh Phu President and CEO Mr. Le Van Quang, Stapimex Technical Manager Mr. Nguyen Dang Khoa and UTXI Vice Chairman Mr. Nguyen Hoang Nha. Also on stage for the presentation was (on the far right) VASEP General Secretary VASEP Mr. Troung Dinh Hoe.

All three recipients expressed their honor to receive the award for their dedication to responsible aquaculture, adding that BAP certification has helped their companies gain marketplace access overseas.

In its stand at the exhibition, GAA met face-to-face with a number of industry leaders, including Ms. Vo Thi Thu Huong, vice general secretary of the Vietnamese Pangasius Association (VPA), to discuss the promotion of responsible farming practices in the Pangasius sector through the BAP program. VPA represents farmers, processors and exporters, and other organizations supporting the pangasius sector. The organization has a total of 300 members, most of which are located in Mekong Delta.

In addition to the opening ceremony and welcome reception, GAA actively participated the Aug. 7 conference program at Vietfish 2014. Redmond and Ken Corpron, BAP’s Asia-Pacific coordinator, led a seminar titled “BAP Certification and Market Opportunities.” The seminar drew about 20 attendees. Also representing GAA at Vietfish 2014 was Jane Bi, BAP’s market development manager for Asia, and Nguyen Thi Thanh Binh, who works with BAP-certified facilities in Vietnam on behalf of GAA.

wp_000939Also on Aug. 6, Roper participated in the “Vietnam Pangasius Forum” as a marketplace expert, sitting in on one of the forum’s panels. The forum was organized by VASEP and the European Union-funded SUPA (Establishing a Sustainable Pangasius Supply Chain in Vietnam) project.

After Vietfish 2014, the GAA staff visited the Minh Phu Aqua Mekong Shrimp Vet Laboratory. The lab was founded this year by Mr. Quang and Mr. Loc H. Tran, who gave a tour of the facility, Vietnam’s first shrimp pathology lab. The primary mission of the lab is to support research toward sustainable aquaculture for Minh Phu and its partners. In terms of extension work, the lab provides free services and consultancy to thousands of farmers in Vietnam and also offers training for colleagues throughout Southeast Asia.

wp_000925On Aug. 8, the GAA staff visited the BAP-certified Grobest Group feed mill in Bien Hoa, Dong Nai, Vietnam, which is near Ho Chi Minh City. The visit was hosted by the feed mill’s general director, Mr.  Liu Yi Sung, and its staff. Also present was Mr. Hans Yu, managing director of Grobest Group Hainan Sky-Blue Ocean Foods Co. Ltd., a major supplier of BAP tilapia from Hainan, China.

GAA will return to Ho Chi Minh City from Oct. 7 to 10 for its GOAL 2014 conference. MARD and VASEP are among the conference’s sponsors.