HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam's first official forces to specialise in overseeing operations in the country's seas will be set up early next year.
They will aim to better protect the country's fisheries and sovereignty.
Following a recently-issued Government decree, the forces will conduct regular sea patrols and monitor fishery activities.
Members of the forces will have authority to impose penalties on local and foreign fishing organisations and individuals operating within Viet Nam's seas.
They will be involved in disaster prevention and control as well as search and rescue activities.
They will also take part in defending the country's sovereignty and sea jurisdictions under applicable laws and rules.
The forces will be set up under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Devel-opment's Directorate of Fisheries in January.
The directorate's deputy director Nguyen Huy Dien said the establishment of the force would help protect marine resources from over-exploitation by ensuring fishermen had the appropriate licenses.
"At present, fishery control activities are carried out by authorised provincial forces, but the number of staff is limited, and they lack professional skills and are not equipped with essential devices," Dien said.
The establishment of the forces received great applause from local authorities and fishermen.
Nguyen Huu Dinh, a fishery official from Tam Quang commune in central Quang Nam Province, told Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper that the forces were expected to help fishermen in search and rescue activities as well as join their efforts in protecting the country's sovereignty.
"Fishermen will no longer operate offshore alone, so they will face fewer risks to their personal safety," he said.
Fishermen Bui Van Vinh from central Quang Nam Province said that fishermen like him will now have more confidence when operating offshore because they know the forces will be somewhere in the area.
According to the directorate, the country's fishery reserves are estimated at 4.5-5 million tonnes and the number of fishing boats is estimated at 128,000. — VNS