Vietnam's seafood industry is facing a raw material shortage, making it difficult for the country to achieve this year's export target of US$4.5 billion, an industry official says.
Tran Thien Hai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, said demand for seafood, especially for shrimp, is rising as the global economy recovers.
Vietnam's seafood exports in fact rose 18 percent to more than $859 million in the first quarter this year. Exports to the European Union, Vietnam's largest market, increased 9 percent and seafood shipments to the US up 32.2 percent.
But Hai said the local seafood sector is facing many difficulties due to a lack of materials.
Ca Mau Province, which has the largest shrimp farming area in the country, has reported a decline in shrimp output due to unfavorable weather conditions. The output can now only meet 50 percent of what local companies need for production.
Tran Van Linh, director of the Thuan Phuoc Seafood Company in Da Nang, said many factories in the central region are operating at 20-30 percent capacity due to material shortage.
Supply has also dropped because many fishermen are reluctant to go fishing offshore, fearing the risk of being detained illegally by foreign forces, he said.
Chinese patrols have been constantly detaining Vietnamese fishermen when they fish or take shelter from rough seas around the Hoang Sa Archipelago. Four cases involving 107 fishermen were reported in Quang Ngai Province last year.