|Local authorities have been managing and closely monitoring offshore fishing boats while upgrading fishing ports to meet the EC’s standards. — Photo VNA|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — No Vietnamese fishing boats have indulged in illegal fishing since the beginning of 2018.
This was reported at a conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on May 5.
Chaired by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vũ Văn Tám, the event was held to prepare for working sessions with a delegation of the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, which will visit Việt Nam from May 16-23 to inspect the country’s implementation of the EC’s nine recommendations related to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Tám said after the EC issued a “yellow card” warning to Việt Nam, MARD had proposed amendments to the revised Law on Fisheries, which will come into effect in 2019, and issued a circular banning illegal fishing.
Local authorities had also been managing and closely monitoring offshore fishing boats while upgrading fishing ports to meet the EC’s standards, he said.
Through its planned field trip, the EC delegation will observe the time of unloading of foreign transport refrigerated ships at Vietnamese ports and will have technical working sessions with the Vietnamese side on imported seafood material.
After the inspection, the European Union will take its final decision on whether to withdraw the “yellow card” on Vietnamese offshore seafood or not.
The EC issued a “yellow card” warning to Việt Nam on October 23, 2017, after the country failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the fight against illegal fishing worldwide. Though the measure was considered a warning, which would not technically affect the EC trade policy, the Vietnamese fishing industry was concerned that the yellow card would seriously harm the reputation of Vietnamese seafood worldwide, thus weakening sales.
According to the EC’s requirement, the Vietnamese seafood sector had to implement nine recommendations in six months from October 23, 2017, to April 23, 2018.
These included revision of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules applicable to the conservation and management of fisheries resources, ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of the country’s revised laws and strengthening the effective implementation of international rules and management measures.
As the yellow card has the potential to affect the prestige and trade of Vietnamese seafood in the European and global markets, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and businesses have made every effort in the last six months to co-operate with authorised agencies and with one another to fight IUU fishing.
The association has been regularly updating the list of fisheries businesses committed to IUU fishing prevention on its website in both English and Vietnamese, showing Vietnamese firms’ consensus and determination to EU importers and managerial agencies.
On April 20, Việt Nam submitted a report on its efforts to address IUU fishing to the EC. The delegation’s upcoming inspection is to assess local IUU fishing prevention measures. — VNS