US helps VN strengthen fisheries sustainability and combat IUU fishing

The US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Directorate of Fisheries (DFISH) concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen Vietnam’s fisheries management and law enforcement capabilities.
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us helps vn strengthen fisheries sustainability and combat iuu fishing
At the signing ceremony. Photo: US Embassy

The signatories to the MoU were Tran Dinh Luan, Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries (DFISH) under the MARD, and US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink.

According to a statement from the US Embassy in Hanoi, this MoU will not only help strengthen Vietnam’s fisheries management and law enforcement capabilities but also foster greater cooperation between Vietnam and the US, and international law enforcement agencies to ensure sustainable living marine resources and combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Under the signed document, the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) will provide technical assistance to enhance the capacity of DFISH and the Department of Fisheries Resources Surveillance (DFIRES) through information sharing, best practices, and implementation of relevant technical programs and projects.

“The United States has a great deal of experience in managing fisheries and enforcing regulations, which we are more than happy to share. We look forward to working together with Vietnam to strengthen the sustainability of its fisheries and support its fishers against illegal intimidation”, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink said at the signing ceremony.

According to DFISH Director Tran Dinh Luan, since 2015, the US and DFISH have worked together to strengthen Vietnam’s capacity for fisheries management and enforcement through technical training, study visits, and other assistance activities. He also expressed his hope that these are the premises for the next cooperation.

In February 2021, INL will transfer to DFIRES a training facility at Region 5 in Phu Quoc, which will significantly improve human resources capacity for DFIRES and the local fisheries enforcement units in Vietnam’s 28 coastal provinces.

us helps vn strengthen fisheries sustainability and combat iuu fishing
Fishing boats docking in Dam Nai (Nai Lagoon) of Ninh Hai district, Ninh Thuan province. Photo: VNA

Under the Government’s Decree No. 26/2019/ND-CP, dated March 8, 2019, vessel monitoring systems (VMS)must be installed for all fishing vessels at least 24 metres long before July 1, 2019; and for boats between 15 metres and less than 24 metres long before April 1, 2020. In particular, the installation must be completed for trawlers and tuna fishing boats between 15 metres and less than 24 metres long before January 1 this year.

Vietnam is augmenting efforts to prevent IUU fishing so as to persuade the European Commission (EC) to remove the “yellow card” warning, which was issued in October 2017 as the country had failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the battle against IUU fishing.

Countries that fail to meet EC standards are given a "yellow card", followed by a "green card" if the problems are resolved, or a "red card" if they are not. A red card can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.

As many as 23,623 fishing boats or 77.1% of those at least 15 metres long nationwide had been equipped with VMS as of June 22, reported VNA citing the MARD.

The figure included 2,388 vessels at least 24 metres long (91.9%), and 31,235 between 15 metres and less than 24 metres long (71.7%).

The ministry has requested the People’s Committees of coastal provinces and cities to update their data on the national fisheries database system VNFishbase, step up the installation of VMS on local fishing boats, and report on the operation of VMS./.

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