i. Fish market operators are small-scale, basically organized at family household level. Fisherfolks, aquaculturalists, wholesalers, and retailers are the major operators in fish production and marketing. The majority of them are organized at family household level, except fish processors and exporters, which are more often organized as enterprises.
Fisherfolks and aquaculturalists are producing fish products for domestic consumption as well as export. The small scale, family household fisheries model was suitable at the early stage of the sectors development, but it may not be suitable with processing fisheries industrialization and modernization. Moreover, fish product specialization was rather low, especially in the fishing sector. Only small portions of the producers are specialists (e.g. shrimp farming, squid or ocean tuna catching).
Fish wholesalers and retailers are in a similar situation. They are active market operators, but vulnerable. A large portion of the fish retailers are itinerant traders, basically without any permanent structure or equipment.
ii. Almost all of the fish market traders, i.e. the fish wholesalers and retailers are not recognized formally in terms of title, place, and type of operations.
They have no specific right to fishery support services. No clear-cut responsibility for the traded fish products was taken by them. Mutual trust was largely the basis for their operation and product transaction.
iii. Wholesalers play an important role in fish marketing and information dissemination.
The majority of fish products are sold from fish producers to fish wholesalers, who can be classified into four main types depending on their marketing functions: The first wholesalers, the intermediate, the last-stage, and the multifunctional wholesalers. The wholesalers are the main source of information for other market operators. Information of market prices, products, rules, regulations, and Government policies are also disseminated by the wholesalers.
iv. Processors play important roles in absorbing products from fish producers, producing high value products, and drive export development. The operation and existence of fish processors was seen as the output market of fish producers. In most of the regions where fish processors are located, aquaculture and fish capture was promoted. There was a correlation between fish processors and fish producers in the development process. All kinds of value-added and other high value products are produced by the fish processors, mostly for export.
v. Domestic market was important for fisheries development, especially for the aquaculture sector.
Institutional consumption sector was developing and has become a major outlet for fishery products. High value products like lobster, mackerel, snapper, shrimp and squid are in strong demand by institutional consumers, an important consumption section of the industry because of their relatively stable consumption capacity. Consumption of fish products at household level was increasing. Fresh products are the most preferred form.
vi. Various representatives of the public sector are participating in fish marketing However, there was lack of coordination. A mechanism to promote fish marketing, particularly availability and consumption, for the domestic market should be created.
Fish producers need more guidance for active participation in the market. Fish consumers need more protection by ensuring quality, availability and wholesomeness of fish products.
vii. Contract farming was the preferred cooperation mechanism between aquaculturalists and processors.
The mechanism creates a win-win scenario in which the aquaculturalists are assured to sell their products while the processors are assured of supplies of raw materials for processing.
viii. The domestic market for fishery products was less dynamic than the export market.
Fish was consumed mostly in a short distance from production and landing, normally within the provincial boundary. Therefore, in provinces not close to the sea, it was difficult to buy fresh marine products for consumption.
ix. Investment in fish marketing by fish market operators was rather limited.
The majority of the fish market operators do not engage in advertising, except fish processors and exporters. They hesitate to invest in equipment and facilities for storage, preservation and transportation.
x. There are no assembly markets for fish products.
Along the coast of Viet Nam there are no assembly markets, but plenty of fish landing places and ports. Landings fluctuate causing frequent changes in price and quantity of supplies.
xi. Fisheries development could create more jobs. Employment of women was higher in fish marketing than fish production.
Fisheries development creates jobs and generates income for a large proportion of the population. Employment of rural labourers may be permanent or seasonal.
Women are not accepted on-board fishing vessels, but well recognized in areas such as financial management, processing, record keeping and trading.
xii. Fish wholesalers and processors have a strong position in fish marketing.
The wholesalers and processors can buy from several fish suppliers and sell to customers at the same time. They are strong in the formation of fish purchasing and selling prices. Small groups of wholesalers and processors may have a large market share in the industry.
xiii. Fish market prices fluctuate due to seasonality of production, changes in the international market and weather conditions.
The majority of fish market operators perceive that fish prices are high around the traditional New Year when fish consumption was high and fish supplies lower. International markets have a strong impact on fish supplies on the domestic market.
xiv. It was attractive for newcomers to enter activities of fish production, retailing and catering, rather than wholesaling and processing.
Profitability (measured by gross income and cost ratio) of fish producers was high, followed by that of fish retailers and institutional consumers, then by that of fish wholesalers and processors.
xv. Low output market price, price changes, lack of market information, shortage of capital, and poor infrastructure are major problems in fish marketing.
Low price and lack of market information are the main problems for fish producers. Price, competition, shortage of capital and poor infrastructure are the concerns of the fish wholesalers and processors who have additional problems of unstable raw material supply and lack of output market. Shortage of capital, too many taxes and poor infrastructure are problems faced by the fish retailers.
xvi. Availability of price and market information, fish collection service, fish wholesale markets, stability of supplies, and sufficient capital are the main expectations of fish marketing agents as conditions for improving their operations.
Fisherfolks expect to have price and market information, fish collection services and fish wholesale markets available. Stable supplies and better market infrastructure and facilities are the concerns of fish wholesalers. Fish processors mention that stability of the product market and of raw material supplies, availability of market information and sufficient capital as their main problem. Stable supplies, product safety, availability of information, and technical improvement are the concerns of the fish retailers and institutional consumers.
i. Improvement and expansion of fish market system (wholesaling and retailing) in large urban areas for all kind of fisheries products, both with regard to infrastructure and organization of operations.
ii. Selection and improvement of landing sites functioning as assembly markets in principal fish landing areas and provision or improvement of facilities.
iii. Development of a legal framework covering operations of the fish wholesalers at market places in terms of registration, regulation, legal status, responsibility and benefits.
iv. Establishment of price information systems for fishery products in major landing and consumption areas in order to increase transparency and facilitate transactions.
v. Promotion of suitable contractual arrangements among fish market operators certified by local authorities or producer associations.
vi. Improvement of fishery statistics systems for better fishery resources management, fish marketing management, and fish marketing planning.
vii. Elaboration and implementation of a market development strategy for the domestic market, including transport, preservation and storage facilities and inputs, such as ice.
viii. Training in pertinent aspects of marketing of products from fhiseries and aquaculture for stakeholders and market operators.
ix. Development of a coordination mechanism of the public sector in fish marketing and fish market management and supporting arrangement such as fish marketing information and quality enhancement systems.
x. Formulation of a nationwide fish marketing development project with a specific orientation towards the supply of fishery products for large urban areas in the forthcoming five to ten years.