Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Corporation, has rejected all accusations made against his company of deforesting and appropriating land in Laos and Cambodia by the NGO Global Witness, calling them "groundless."
Minimum export and procurement prices will be set for tra catfish at the beginning of next year to ensure breeders and processors do not make losses, an official from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said.
For exports, the floor price will be US$3 per kilogram for white-flesh catfish and $2.05 in case of red flesh, Duong Ngoc Minh, deputy chairman of VASEP, said.
For farmers, it has been set at VND19,500, he said.
But the minimum will not be applicable for exports to the US since they face anti-dumping taxes there, he added.
The new regulation, besides ensuring profits for all, will also help eliminate unhealthy competition which leads to price undercutting and affects the quality of catfish products, VASEP said.
Exporters who violate it will be prohibited from exporting, it said.
The purchase price of catfish is now VND23,000-VND23,500 compared to just VND18,000 in October, and the average export price is $3.
Demand remains high in Europe despite the recent red-listing by the World Wide Fund for Nature in its guidance manual for consumers.
But supply is falling after many farmers abandoned catfish farming earlier this year after costs rose and prices fell due to undercutting by exporters.
Exports are unlikely to hit this year's target of US$1.5 billion because of declining prices and orders.
In the first nine months 472,586 tons worth just $1 billion were exported, the association said, putting the target out of reach.
VASEP estimates exports to reach $1.37 billion while next year they will fall to around $1 billion due to a fall in catfish supply of around 700,000 tons.
Export prices, including to the US, have been falling this year to hit record lows.
The situation was exacerbated by the US imposing an anti-dumping tariff of 130 percent on Vietnamese catfish products, while several other markets also erected technical barriers to limit imports.
Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and some other countries have developed catfish farming with government support, adding to global market supply.