Financial assistance of US$40m has been granted by the Danish International Development Assistance Organisation (DANIDA) to Vietnam's fishing industry, with the aim of developing agricultural and economic growth.

The grant forms part of a 1999-2003 programme designed to minimise the industry's environmental impact and alleviate poverty, explained Mogens Poulsen, from the Hanoi-based Royal Danish Embassy.

Designed by Danida's Sector program Support (SPS), Poulsen revealed that the program had five areas.

Support for Industry Restructuring and Enterprise Development (SIRED) is planning to help fisheries enterprises manage themselves, and will invest in training fisheries managerial staff. Though the Strengthening of Fisheries Administration (STOFA) a management information centre will be established to support and train fisheries staff.

Support to Freshwater Aqua-culture (SUFA) will meanwhile see the establishment of a stock centre and invest in industry specific R&D.

Support for Brackish Water and Marine Aqua-culture (SUMA) has been designed to ensure community sustainability; building upon administrative and legal frameworks within the industry and planning sustainable development and training programmes.

Finally, the Seafood Export and Quality Improvement program (SEAQIP) will see the establishment of safety regulations, a consultancy centre and train marketing staff.