Seafood export value rose 12.3 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018 to reach $4 billion, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Shrimp led the export earnings with $1.6 billion, followed by catfish and tuna. Catfish export value experienced the most significant increase by reaching $1 billion, a 21 percent increase over the same period last year.
Except for the European Union (EU), catfish exports to other markets saw positive growth, especially China and the United States. VASEP expects catfish exports increase dramatically throughout the year.
The U.S. remained the biggest importer of Vietnamese seafood at $620 million in the first six months, followed by Japan and China. Mexico was the fastest growing market with $50 million, an increase of nearly 77 percent over the same period last year.
Previously, the EU “yellow card”, a warning to Vietnam seafood about export bans if it failed to tackle illegal fishing, had disrupted tuna and other seafood exports in the first 3-4 months of the year, causing total exports to the European market to slow down. However, exports to this market are forecast to rebound in the second half of the year.
Vietnam ranks among the top ten seafood producers in the world, according to the FAO, the U.N. food and agriculture organisation.
Vietnam exported $8.32 billion worth of seafood last year, an 18 percent growth over 2016, said the VASEP.