The famous seafood products in Viet Nam

8 min read

Marine fish

1. Introduction

Viet Nam is located in the tropical monsoon of Southeast Asia with a long coastline of 3280km vuông. And it has an exclusive economic zone of more than 1 million square kilometers. There are more 2000 fish species in Vietnam’sea, including 130 fish species with high economic value.

The allowable exploitation production yearly is about 1,4-1,5 million tons. Due to characteristics of the tropical sea, the marine fish of Viet nam is mainly species with small size and the dreeding cycle is short. Today, the exploitation production every year is about 1,2-1,3 million tons.

The sea near shore focus on many marine fish species with economic value, however, due to great mining pressure, marine fish resource in this area have a decrease sign. Nowadays, fishing industry is promoting to expand exploitation area to offshore area with larger size and higher value fish species.

Marine fish farming is also being developed. Industrial farming models for export have been formed for some species such as grouper, sea bass, snapper and cobia. Some other species are being tested such as sea bream, seabird, flounder and eel.

Fishing season: marine fishr are exploited all year round. There are two main fishing seasons: South fishing season and North fishing season.

  • South fishing season: from May to October yearly.
  • North fishing season: from November to April next year.

Exploiting form: marine fish are exploited by many types such as trawling, seine nets, gill nets, fishing, hooves and fishing net,….

Marine fish farming: The farming form follow industrial scale. Marine fish are kept by the fishing cage in the sea or bays, lagoons round islands and coastal areas in the country.

Exporting: Every year, the marine fish products of Viet Nam are exported to all markets in the world, including Japan, and Asian countries, American, Europe and Oceania countries.

The exporting value of frozen fish products in Viet Nam accounts for 15-20% of total seafood export turnover yearly. While The exporting value of marine fish products accounts for 40-50% of total frozen fish products .

Exporting products: Marine fish are procesed by many different prodcuts. The exporting products are frozen by block frozen and IQF frozen. Products can be classified into groups such as:

  • Chilling fresh Fish with ice/ frozen
  • Frozen Phile
  • Increasing value product
  • Boxed

2. Some export marine fish species

Vietnamese Name Eglish Name Latin Name
1. Cá nổi lớn 1. Big pelagic fishes  
Cá ngừ Tuna Thunnus
Cá kiếm Swordfish Xiphias Gladius
Cá cờ Marlin Makaira indica
Cá thu Mackerel Acanthocybium
Cá nục heo (cá dũa) Mahi-mahi Coryphaena hippurrus
2. Cá nổi nhỏ 2. Small Pelagic fishes  
Cá hè Emperor Lethrinidae
Cá nục, sòng Scad Carangidae (Decaplerus, Megalaspis,Ttrachurus)
Cá chỉ vàng Yellow strip trevally Selaroides leptolepis
Cá trích Herring Clupeidea
Cá cơm Anchovies Engraulidae
Cá bạc má Indian mackerel Rastrelliger kanagurta
3. Cá rạn 3. Rock fishes  
Cá song (cá mú) Grouper Ephinephelus
Cá chẽm (vược) Barramundi, Giant Seaperch Lates calcarifer
Cá hồng Snapper Lutjanus
4.Cá đáy 4. Demersal fishes  
Cá bơn,

Cá lưỡi trâu


Tongue sole

Pseudorhombus, Cynoglosus robustus
Cá hố Largehead hairtail Trichiurus lepturus
Cá chim Pomfret Stromateoides
Cá lượng Threadfin bream Nemipterus
Cá sạo Grunt Pomadasys
Cá trác Moontail bigeye Plectorynchus hamrur
Cá đù bạc Silver croaker Pennahia argentata
Cá đ ục bạc Silver sillago Silago sihama
Cá bánh đường (cá miền sành hai gai) Long spine seabream (Yellow back seabream) Evynnis cardinalis
Cá lượng (cá đổng cờ) Threadfin bream Nemipterus
Cá đầu vuông (cá đổng quéo) Japanese horsehead fish Branchiostegus japonicus
Cá phèn ( một sọc, hai sọc) Goldband goatfish, yellow goatfish Upeneus moluccensis, Upeneus sulphureus
Cá đối mục Bully mullet Mugil cephalus


1. Production

There are more 600000 hectares shrimp with black tiger shrimp and white shrimp.

Viet Nam is the leading black tiger shrimp export country in the world with 300000 tons shrimp yearly. This is a traditonal rised species of Viet Nam, whlie white shrimp are raised in many provinces in the country since 2008.

The main farming areas focus on Mekong Delta Provinces. The Five with the largest shrimp area include Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang , Ben Tre and Kien Giang.

2. Processing and exporting

Shrimp industry plays an inportant role in seafood export of Viet Nam to the world during the past two decades. Every year, shrimp industry contribute about 40-45% of total value of seafood export.

And it equipvalent with 3,5-4 billion USD. Currently, Shrimp in Viet Nam are exported to 100 countries with 5 the biggest markets including: Europe, US,Japan, China and Korea. With continuous efforts , Viet nam become the second shrimp supplier in the world. The export value in Viet Nam accounts for 13-14% of total shrimp export value of the world.

Viet Nam has many advantages to develop shrimp industry, especially in the Mekong Delta. This place accounts for 95% shrimp production and it is also the center of shrimp processing factories . Up to now, 200 shrimp processing factories are approved by European Commission with periodic field tests in Viet Nam.

Sustainable development

To gain this achievement, at the beginning of 1990s, Shrimp industry in Viet Nam have developed in scale, technical management and capacity about quality, origin, environment impact management in the whole supply chain from hatchery, feed factory, farming and processing plants to exporting through modern cold storage.

The most reliable evidence that the shrimp farming in Viet Nam is safe and sustianable is the growing certification programs of international certification organizations for good aquaculture practice including BAP( best aquaculture practice), Global Gap and ASC(Aquaculture Stewardship Council).

To achieve these certifications, farms have to be built and operated by the following criterias:

  • Comply the law
  • Preserve natural environment and biodiversity
  • Preserve Water Resource
  • Preserver the diversity of species and natural populations.
  • Use responsibly food and other resources.
  • Animal health( do not use unnecessary antibiotics and chemicals).
  • Social responsibility(For example: no child labor, ensuring health and safety of employees, meeting freedom and community relations).

Ensuring food quality and safety

The shrimp businesses that are members of VASEP contribute about 90% shrimp export fromViet Nam, so VASEP through the Shrimp Committee has cooperated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, The National Agro- Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) to solve industry issues such as quality assurance, hygiene and safety and compliance the laws as well as regulations of Viet Nam and foreign markets.

Thanks to the cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, NAFIQAD and VASEP in ensuring quality, food hygiene and safety, complying with the rules and regulations of Viet Nam law and foreign markets, updating certifications and complying with the Labour Law, Food Safety Law and regulations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Shrimp companies are applying good practices in farms and factories processing seafood products including shrimp.

Besides, every year, companies is tested by independent testing agencies, international certification organizations and Viet Nam authorities.

To maintain exports to 100 markets and develop new markets, Shrimp companies in Viet Nam have to be prestigious by controlling the whole system to meet the demand and regulations from the world market. For example:

Labour issue: working hour of employees in Vietnam’shrimp companies are applied by Labour Code 2012, Decree 45/2013/NĐ-CP dated May 10,2013 of the Government.

Labour Law in shrimp bussinesses regulate that all shrimp companies have to declare and register working regution with The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to protect the interests of employees including working hours and working conditions.

Complying ASC, Global GAP and international standards show that Shrimp farmer and businesses are not allowed to use unnessary antibiotic and chemicals in the production chain. Importantly, governmet in Viet Nam have regulations and controlling programs closely in using chemicals and antibiotic for farming and processing seafood.

Directorate of Fisheries(D-fish) and the local aquaculture management agency often guide and test in using antibiotic and shrimp industry development by chain link( with contract closely, controlled produce, do not use or limit antibiotic, consume products stably,…), and Raising Shrimp have certification.

Viet Nam has been implementing the National Residue Monitoring Program( Circular No.31/2015/TT-BNNPTNT dated October 6,2015), because NAFIQAD has implemented and sent to EU the report yearly about last year result as well as plans for next year.

Seafood processors and exporters: they have implemented Intermal Monitoring Program and prevented antibiotic in products( by Circular No.48/2013/TT-BNNPTNT): The samples are collected to test antibiotic and toxic substances in the farm before harvesting as well as after processing.

Before exporting, Competent Authorities in Viet Nam takes sample from shipment to check antibiotic before issuing a certificate that all European Border Control Agency require for exporting shrimp and all food from Viet Nam to European market.

In the total seafood export of Viet Nam, Shrimp export accounts for the largest proportion with growth and stable. In 5years(2015-2019), The shrimp export of Viet Nam increased nearly 14% from billion USD in 2015 up to 3,4 billion USD in 2019. In 2019, The shrimp export of Viet Nam achieved 3,36 billion USD, decreasing 5,4% compare to 2018.