HCM CITY (VNS)— The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked for the Prime Minister's approval to extend a pilot project on puffer-fish exports through 2015.
In 2010 the Government approved the pilot project on the exploitation, processing and export of puffer fish.
Under the project, fishermen and seafood processors in the provinces of Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen and Kien Giang, where waters are rich in puffer fish, have been selected to become the first exporters on a pilot basis under the supervision of the ministry.
After two years of implementation, the three provinces have exported 70 tonnes of puffer fish to South Korea.
With South Korea continuing to have high demand for puffer fish, the ministry and three provinces have asked the government to extend the programme through 2015.
The ministry said it planned to add Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province to the project.
Under the three-year plan of the ministry, each province is expected to export an estimated 200-500 tonnes of processed puffer fish to South Korea.
According to the ministry, the fish has a potential health risk since it contains toxins that can be harmful to customers, but it has high commercial value if safely processed and cleared of all toxins.
Puffer fish are used in food and pharmaceutical products in Japan, South Korea and other markets.
The ministry said strict control and supervision would ensure safety and hygiene.
There are an estimated 40 different varieties of puffer fish in Viet Nam, with a potential catch of about 37,300 tonnes per year, according to the ministry. — VNS