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Fishermen asked to operate within Vietnam’s waters as deal with China in Tonkin Gulf expires

07:57 | 02/09/2020

Fishing vessels have been told to be mindful of where they operate as the Vietnam-China agreement on fishery cooperation in the Gulf of Tonkin has expired.

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fishermen asked to operate within vietnams waters as deal with china in tonkin gulf expires
Fishing vessels docked at a port in Bạch Long Vĩ island in the Gulf of Tonkin, Việt Nam. Photo: VNA

Fishing vessels have been told to be mindful of where they operate, after the expiry of an agreement between Vietnam and China over fishery cooperation in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The bilateral agreement in the Gulf of Tonkin expired on June 30, according to the Directorate of Fisheries on September 1.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has sent document 4829/BNN-TCTS to People’s Committees in coastal cities and provinces regarding the management of fishing activities in the Gulf, Viet Nam News reported.

The document stated that the agreement, signed on December 25, 2000, took effect from June 30, 2004 to June 30, 2019, and was then extended for another year until June 30, 2020, as agreed by the two governments.

But now the agreement has expired, fishermen have been told they must take extra care when fishing to ensure they are not encroaching in Chinese waters.

fishermen asked to operate within vietnams waters as deal with china in tonkin gulf expires
From April 21 to 24, 2020, the Vietnam-China joint fishery inspection trip, the first of its kind this year, took place in the Gulf of Tonkin. Photo: VNA

To ensure normal fishing activities in the Gulf while the two countries negotiate the cooperation terms, the agriculture ministry has asked the People’s Committees of coastal cities and provinces to instruct relevant agencies to inform fishermen about the expiry of the agreement.

The common fishing zone and the buffer zones for small fishing boats, which were established in line with the agreement, are also no longer valid. Competent agencies of both sides will manage the operation of fishing boats in the Gulf in accordance with the delimited line as defined in Article 2 of the agreement on the delimitation of the territorial seas, exclusive economic zones, and continental shelves in the Gulf of Tonkin between Vietnam and China.

The localities were asked to instruct fishermen to maintain normal activities within Vietnam’s waters, head to sea in groups to support each other, and swiftly report violations by foreign fishing boats in Vietnam’s waters to relevant agencies.

Central and local competent agencies, particularly those in cities and provinces along the coast of the Gulf, need to intensify inspections of fishing vessels at sea to make sure that Vietnamese vessels do not get past the dividing line in the gulf to catch fish, and report emerging incidents via the hotline of the Việt Nam fisheries resource surveillance department, at 024 62 737 323.

An agreement helps to improve regional stability, security

fishermen asked to operate within vietnams waters as deal with china in tonkin gulf expires
Over the past years, relevant agencies of the two countries have worked closely to maintain order in the region and encouraged fishermen to enforce the agreement. Photo: VNA

The Vietnam-China agreement on fishery cooperation is one of the agreements important to the two countries’ negotiations on the Gulf of Tonkin delineation, VOV said.

Under the agreement, the two sides set up a joint fishing ground which is 33,500 square kilometers.

In their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Vietnam and China have the right to inspect, control, and deal with vessels in the joint fishing ground. The quota of fishing yield and vessels allowed to enter the joint fishing ground is decided on the basis of equality. Each side is allowed to joint venture with a third party in fishing in their EEZ.

Over the past years, relevant agencies of the two countries have worked closely to maintain order in the region and encouraged fishermen to enforce the agreement.

The Gulf of Tonkin is of great importance to the two countries’ security and national defense as well as their economic development thanks to the region’s rich fishery reserves.

The effective enforcement of the agreement has created conditions for the two countries to settle their differences and has created a momentum to build mutual trust and strengthen bilateral ties. The two have trained their fishermen to abide by the agreement and other related laws. They have surveyed fisheries reserves, released breeds, and strengthened patrols and inspection of fishing activities in the region./.

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