Vietnam opens blowfish trade to foreign firms

TN News

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An official from the Minsitry of Agricultural announced Monday that foreign firms are now free to invest in Vietnam's blowfish industry.

The prized delicacy is also considered the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world after the golden poison frog.

They must be processed with extreme care and Vietnamese officials hope foreign experts will help develop and train local farmers. 

The announcement came after a year-long trial period in which the Korea Poseidon Seafood firm was allowed to invest in blowfish farms in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang and Khanh Hoa Province in central coast, deputy minister Luong Le Phuong said at a conference in Khanh Hoa.

Additional foreign investors in the market will increase the businesses' competitiveness and prevent local developers from becoming the exclusive buyers of the fish from farmers, Phuong said.

As part of the agreement, the Korean firm taught local farmers how to process the fish in accordance with South Korean safety and hygiene standards, according to Phuong.

The ministry plans to allow more foreign firms to enter the market and extend the development zone to Phu Yen, Quang Ninh and Nghe An provinces.

Officials have also asked the Pasteur Institute to help check the toxicity of the final products and certify their quality.

The Health Ministry has warned that most of the 66 species of blowfish in Vietnam are poisonous. Deadly toxins can be found in the eggs, liver, gall, blood, gills, skin and belly flesh.

The non-poisonous meat is considered a delicacy.

The catch, trade and processing of blowfish is illegal in several Vietnamese localities but authorities have failed to control it.

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