NEWS in Detail

The Vietnamese success in the fisheries sector to be shared at the new Regional Center of Excellence
14 March 2018

THe new Regional Center of Excellence developed by UNCTAD and Nha Trang University of Vietnam

The Vietnamese success in the fisheries sector to be shared at the new Regional Center of Excellence developed by UNCTAD and Nha Trang University of Vietnam

The Vietnamese experience in the fisheries sector illustrates how developing countries can tap into the potential of diversifying their fisheries sector.

The Vietnamese experience in aquaculture is also relevant for other LDCs. Aquaculture has enabled the country to increase its market size, expand its export potential, and generate a more sustainable source of fish protein, which in turn supports food security and creates more jobs. Today roughly 70% of Vietnamese fisheries exports come from aquaculture, and nearly 60% of the fisheries sector workforce is employed in aquaculture firms.

Aquaculture is also an innovative answer to the problem of overfishing and can help to address the problem of the depletion of fish stocks. It can make the industry more sustainable, and can help to regulate domestic fishing activities, as well as reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) activities.

Here one key aspect of this success was Government facilitation—the use of public sector incentives to stimulate the private sector was a vital feature of the industrial policy.

Demand for fish and fish products is also growing. From an estimated 90 million tons of caught fish in 2018, the demand is expected to grow to 200 million tons by 2030. A majority of this demand, up to 110 million tons, could come from aquaculture. Worldwide, sales of fish oil have tripled in recent years, as industrial, animal and human consumption grows.

Looking forward, the Asian experience in the coastal and inland fisheries sector, and in aquaculture, can serve as a key model for other developing countries, especially LDCs. Six of the top sixteen producers of fish from inland waters are LDCs. In fourteen out of the 47 LDCs, fish are one of their top five export products.

Other Asian countries including Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh, have seen important growth in their national fisheries sectors. In Bangladesh alone, 15 million people are directly employed in fisheries, whereas in Cambodia 40 per cent of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on the sector.

To support LDCs increase their productive capacities in the fisheries sector, UNCTAD and the Nha Trang University of Vietnam recently opened a Regional Center of Excellence in Vietnam. The Center will serve as a hub for the fisheries and aquaculture sector for least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa and Asia.

The objectives of the Regional Center of Excellence are :

  • To serve as a regional hub for capacity building in the fisheries and aquaculture sector for LDCs and small island developing States (SIDS) in Africa and Asia;
  • To allow experts and practitioners from selected African and Asian LDCs to benefit from the successful experience of Vietnam in developing its fisheries sectors;
  • To facilitate building regulatory and institutional capacities in LDCS and SIDS to meet international food safety and quality standards;
  • To help policy-makers and senior officials from selected African and Asian LDCs draw on the research-capacities for fishery-sector development available in Vietnam; and
  • To foster an active exchange of experience, best practices and knowledge among policy makers and experts from several LDCs and SIDS.

The Regional Center of Excellence aims to bring together experts and national stakeholders from Asian coastal countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Cambodia, as well as landlocked countries like Laos PDR with a potential to develop inland fisheries and aquaculture. Cross-regional and south-south cooperation is another goal of the Center. Stakeholders from African countries including Mozambique, Comoros, Cabo Verde, Djibouti, Uganda, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Nigeria are also expected to benefit from knowledge exchange and training.

The development of the Regional Center of Excellence in Vietnam builds on lessons learned from UNCTAD’s Development Account Project, "Building the Capacities of Selected LDCs to Upgrade and Diversify their Fish Exports", which identified the significant potential of the fisheries sector for enhancing productive capacities, advancing socio-economic development and expanding exports in many LDCs.


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