Oct. 17, 2016
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Thinh Hung Co. LTD, a frozen seafood processor based here in Nha Trang, has entered phase 2 of an effort to support local tuna fishing communities. These communities, fishing from handline vessels in Vietnam’s Eastern Sea (Hoang Sa, Truong Sa), have been providing Thinh Hung with fresh, good quality, tuna for years. However, Thinh Hung Vice President, Huynh Dac Tri, saw there was room for improvement in overall catch quality and a way to “pay it back” to the fishers themselves.
Mr. Tri and Thinh Hung Co. ownership made a simple offer to tuna vessel owners: We will teach you better onboard handling practice for tuna, provide you the tools to accomplish it, and pay you more for the better quality tuna you harvest. This offer was backed up by the support of key customers like Sea Delight.
In the past many buyers have come forward and offered the tuna fishing communities more money if they would catch better quality fish. But there was always a “catch”; fishermen would have to finance the extra gear and effort to improve quality themselves before seeing any higher price. Thinh Hung took a new approach that vessel owners could understand and accept. All fish are tracked from vessel to factory. Vessel lots with more than 10% air export grade are paid a premium per kilo. The quality records are shared with the vessel owners and each month the 3 top quality vessels from each port receive a bonus. Every 6 months the top 3 quality vessels receive an additional, much larger, bonus.
So far 139 vessels in Binh Dinh Province have been following the program and there are 46 new members here in Khanh Hoa as of this writing.
Sea Delight representative Stephen Fisher attended the training on Oct. 17 in Nha Trang for the Khanh Hoa vessel captains. The training was also supported and hosted by the Khanh Hoa Province Department of Fisheries.
Clear and concise photo presentations and videos were shown to the captains. These showed how properly handle tuna at the time of catch in order to improve quality. Each vessel owner was then presented with a set of the same high-quality stainless steel tools shown in the presentations. All were also entered into the quality/reward program for all upcoming fishing trips.
The program is already working in Binh Dinh, with a higher percentage of good quality fish being landed and better prices and bonuses going back to the fishing communities. Sea Delight will be sure to report on the progress of the program here in Khanh Hoa as well.