Vietnam making every effort to fight IUU fishing

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has urged localities to adopt drastic measures to fight irregular, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

All Vietnamese fishermen, businesses, and local authorities must consider this an important and urgent task to affirm the prestige of Vietnam’s fisheries sector in the world and among countries it shares territorial waters with, and be resolved to meet the standards set by the European Commission (EC).

Since the EC gave a “yellow card” warning to Vietnam’s fisheries and seafood in the European market in October 2017, the entire sector has suffered marked losses.

Tran Dinh Luan, head of the ministry’s Directorate of Fisheries, said it is necessary to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing in order to remove the “yellow card” warning, develop fisheries responsibly, and integrate into the world.

This is also the guideline of the Party and State, as reflected through the Law on Fisheries.

Since the imposition of the EC warning, Vietnam’s fishery export value to Europe has fallen by between 6% and 10% annually.

From being the second-largest importer of Vietnam’s seafood, with value representing 17-20% of Vietnam’s total export revenue, the EU now ranks fifth, after Japan, the US, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and ASEAN.

The Government and the National Steering Committee on IUU Fishing Prevention have issued a range of documents instructing ministries, agencies, and People’s Committees in 28 coastal cities and provinces to drastically take preventive measures. The MARD has conducted regular inspections in localities.

The EC has highly valued Vietnam’s political determination to implement its recommendations in this regard.

Vietnam has openly and transparently announced the results of inspections of seafood exports to the EU and has completed a legal framework that serves as a foundation to materialise relevant tasks, including the enforcement of the Law on Fisheries, two decrees adopted by the Government, a decision by the Prime Minister, and a circular from the MARD.

The country has joined and realised the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s Agreement on Port State Measures, whose main objective is to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU fishing, and also the UN Fish Stocks Agreement.

The EC has lauded Vietnam’s efforts in installing fishing vessel monitoring equipment and enhancing the management of seafood exploitation.

One of 28 coastal localities in Vietnam, the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang has posted significant achievements in fighting IUU fishing.

With 366 fishing vessels of 15 metres in length or more operating at sea, the province has stepped up communications work so that captains, sailors, and ship-owners seriously observe relevant regulations.

According to Duong Tan Truong, head of the provincial Department of Fisheries, Soc Trang has developed a plan to conduct tasks in fighting IUU fishing and established a working group to lead the fight.

It carried out 10 patrols at sea last year and inspected 146 fishing vessels inside and outside of the province.

Soc Trang also granted 381 seafood certificates to 11 processing and export firms in the locality during 2020, with more than 6,000 tonnes of seafood, according to Truong.

Southernmost Ca Mau province, meanwhile, has also made substantial efforts in disseminating relevant legal documents to raise public awareness about IUU fishing, and enhancing coordination between relevant agencies.

The province will work harder in the time ahead to prevent fishing vessels that deliberately operate in foreign waters.

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