Vietnam probes accusations of gov’t’s threat in tra fish case 

February 10, 2011

 

The Ministry of Agriculture Tuesday said they are investigating recent reports that claim the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) took Vietnam’s catfish off its red list under illicit pressure.

 

So far, local WWF representatives and Vietnamese authorities have denied the claims. 

 

The reports allegedly began with a Swedish radio report which claimed that representatives of Vietnamese agencies had threatened to revoke the organization’s license to operate in Vietnam.

 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is ordering the Directorate of Fisheries to investigate the accusations, Deputy Minister Vu Van Tam said in an interview with Thanh Nien.

 

In the meantime, Tran Minh Hien, director of WWF in Vietnam, stressed that she and her colleagues never faced such a threat.

 

Also Tuesday the ministry said that WWF on January 30 officially withdrew the fish from its red list in the guidance manuals in six European countries.

Last December, the WWF agreed to remove Vietnam’s tra fish from its red list after several days of negotiation with Vietnamese agencies.

WWF’s Global Seafood Coordinator, Dr. Mark Powell, admitted that his group hadn’t consulted current research when it downgraded the fish from yellow – “Think twice” to the red – “Don’t buy” list in November.

  

Following WWF’s retraction, the two sides signed an agreement pledging to cooperate in developing sustainable fish farming practices. 

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