Vietnam's Efforts to Fight Illegal Fishing

Without stronger actions to lift the “yellow card” warning, Vietnam may face the “red card” from the European Commission (EC), which means it will be banned from exporting seafood to Europe, said Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang
June 06, 2023 | 15:11

An inspection team from the European Commission (EC) will visit Vietnam to examine the country’s efforts on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing prevention and control in October.

Efforts to Fight Illegal Fishing
A Vietnamese fishing vessel. Photo: VOV

Since the EC’s inspection in last October, Vietnam has worked hard to implement four groups of the EC’s recommendations on IUU fishing prevention and control, including those on legal framework; fishing vessel monitoring and control, and fleet management; seafood output verification and origin traceability; and law enforcement, VNA reported.

The MARD has also set up working groups to inspect the situation in coastal localities and instruct them in rolling out measures against IUU fishing and implementing the EC's recommendations.

Meanwhile, ministries and central agencies as well as localities have focused on realising their tasks of IUU fishing combat, preventing and settling ships violating foreign waters and IUU fishing activities.

At the seventh meeting of the national steering committee for fighting illegal, reported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien reported that the combat against IUU fishing has recorded progress after more than five years (since October 23, 2017) of taking actions against IUU fishing and implementing the EC’s recommendations.

In their third inspection last October, the EC inspection team continued recognising and highly valuing Vietnam’s political resolve, especially the attention and drastic directions from the Permanent Member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, the Government, and the Prime Minister.

Regarding the prevention and settlement of Vietnamese fishing vessels working illegally in foreign waters, the country’s law enforcement forces have patrolled and examined the areas adjacent to other countries’ to make necessary moves. So far, they have eradicated fishing vessels’ violation of the waters of the Pacific island countries.

However, Tien said, there remains many shortcomings slow to be addressed in certain localities as found by the EC inspection team.

Such provinces as Phu Yen and Tien Giang have considerably reduced violations while some others haven’t, including Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ben Tre, and Kien Giang, he added.

Efforts to Fight Illegal Fishing
At the seventh meeting of the national steering committee for fighting IUU fishing in Hanoi on June 1. Photo: VNA

Proposing focal tasks to be performed by October, when the EC team will return for the fourth inspection, officials called on relevant forces to implement strong measures to resolutely prevent Vietnamese vessels from fishing illegally in foreign waters, promote seafood origin tracing, control sources of imported seafood materials, especially those imported in containers, and ramp up the settlement of violations.

According to Lieutenant General Nguyen Trong Binh, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army, currently, the forces of the Ministry of National Defense including the fisheries surveillance force, the navy, and the coast guard are located outside the border of the contiguous zone, border guards on the shore are also very active. Recently, they have also mobilized border guards to inspect, control, and even cross the toad wharf, strengthen inspection, control and carry out export/import procedures.

"However, I think that in order to put an end to this content, it is very important to recommend to the Ministry of National Defense to complete legal documents in the direction of increasing sanctions," he stressed.

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang applauded the relevant forces’ achievements in the IUU fishing combat but also warned about the “red card” that may lead to a ban on seafood export to Europe if stronger efforts are not made to remove the “yellow card”.

“Illegal fishing is not only narrowing export markets but also affecting the country’s image,” he said, pointing out that there is still a shortage of effective solutions, and some localities have shown lax management.

Highlighting the determination to eradicate IUU fishing as in line with the EC’s recommendations, he demanded ministries, sectors, and localities make the best use of the coming opportunity in October to have the “yellow card” removed.

The Deputy PM requested localities to pay more attention to personnel affairs, saying if leaders of a province take drastic actions, it will record differences.

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