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Fisheries sector strives to meet EC’s requirements

Update: July, 05/2018 - 09:00
Fish are stockpiled at Hòn Rớ Habour in Phước Đồng District in the central coastal city of Nha Trang. – VNA/VNS Photo Nguyên Lý
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Directorate of Fisheries (DoF) has proposed the government use the medium-term public investment budget for the 2016-20 period to upgrade fisheries ports to meet European Commision (EC) requirements for the supervision of fishing vessels, traceability and management of fisheries products.

Trần Đình Luân, deputy director general of the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Developments (MARD), made the statement at a meeting to review the operation of the sector in the first half of the year and set tasks for the rest of the year.

The EC inspection team visited Việt Nam in May and recognised the country’s progress. However, there were still some challenges that the Vietnamese fisheries sector should address, he said.

According to the inspection team, there were many holes in the regulatory regime for catching and tracing the exploited aquatic products. Many fishing vessels were still in violation of foreign fishing areas and the punishment for violations against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) exploitation was not strong enough, Luân said.

To overcome the above-mentioned shortcomings, the MARD would collaborate with concerned agencies in adopting drastic measures including the establishment of a legal framework on fisheries and setting up a steering committee against IUU fishing, he said.

He said the DoF had directed localities to take measures to strictly control their fishing fleets. The number of fishing boats leaving ports and arrivals should also be tightened.

Strict punishment like the withdrawal of licences should be imposed on fishing boats which violate foreign fishing areas, he said.

Speaking at the meeting, which was organised by MARD in Hà Nội yesterday, Luân said the fisheries sector had achieved positive results in the first six months of 2018 with growth reported on both output and export volume, laying the foundation for the sector to meet the set target for the whole year.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, the country’s seafood output in the first six months of this year was estimated at 3.5 million tonnes, representing a 5.7 per cent year-on-year rise.

Of this figure, aquaculture output was 1.8 million tonnes, an increase of 6.4 per cent and fishing operations was 1.7 million tonnes, up 5 per cent over the same period last year.

The seafood export turnover reached US$4 billion in the first half of 2018, posing a 12.9 per cent rise over last year’s figure.

By strictly following the farming schedule, diseases among farm-raised aquatic products were curbed and the quality of breeding stock for aquaculture was controlled, the directorate said.

Regarding fisheries exploitation, the safety of both fishermen and fishing vessels were secured and the quality of captured fisheries products, especially tuna, was improved, it said.

To meet the seafood export target of US$10 billion for this year, participants at the meeting said it was necessary to proactively exploit traditional markets, develop new markets and remove trade barriers to drive exports.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vũ Văn Tám said solutions should be taken on key aquaculture products such as shrimp and tra catfish with a view to increasing output and reducing the production costs while ensuring that chemical substances won’t be used, in order to overcome the potential barriers raised by export markets.

He said high-tech shrimp farming should be expanded to protect the environment. The quality of baby shrimp should be well-managed and ensure that households can access high quality stock.

Tám added that the quality of baby tra catfish played an important role in raising productivity but the most important task was to control the exports through informal channels, particularly to China. — VNS

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