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Seafood firms halt export on ‘Chinese sea ban’   2011-06-17 - Tuoi Tre

An official announced Tuesday that 147 Vietnamese companies have stopped exporting and processing seafood products after Chinese vendors bought all of the supply at the source and Chinese ships have continued to illegally impede Vietnamese ships from fishing.

At a conference in Ho Chi Minh City, chaired by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers, or VASEP, experts were told many Vietnamese seafood producers are seriously lacking seafood supplies.



This is because Chinese businessmen buy most fish, caught by Vietnamese fishermen, at ports or directly at sea before the catch could make its way to Vietnamese companies.



Production costs are also on the rise, making the problem worse, said Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, deputy chairperson of VASEP.



Many of the 147 companies that have stopped processing and exporting seafood products have moved their businesses to other sectors, she said.



She added that many popular fishing areas in Vietnamese territory show signs of “a depletion of aquatic resources.”



Fishing hauls are also suffering because of the “Chinese sea ban,” Sac said at the conference, referring to a number of Chinese ships that have illegally prevented Vietnamese ships from fishing in Vietnamese territory.



Many enterprises said that their current supply of raw materials was only 30 percent of their production capacity.



To cope, many agreed to buy raw materials at high prices. This, coupled with a lowering export volume, was a risky move, Sac concluded.



In related news, two VASEP leaders had a bloody brawl at a coffee house in Ca Mau province several days ago.



Nguyen Viet Cuong, VASEP’s deputy chairman and chairman of Phu Cuong Group, smashed a teapot into the face of Tran Thien Hai, VASEP’s chairman and CEO of Minh Hai Seafood, when the two were out drinking.



Hai fell to the ground with his face covered in blood.



Then, a group of seven people sitting nearby unexpectedly stood up. A man attacked Cuong from behind with a folding chair.



Cuong’s head was bleeding after the attack.



This attacker was later identified as Hai’s cousin.



A source told Nguoi Lao Dong that the clash came after Hai advised Cuong not to run for the chairman position in the upcoming election.



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