|The delegation from the EP’s Committee on Fisheries inspect a factory of the Bình Định Fishery JSC. — Photo VNA/VNS|
HCM CITY — The Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said a delegation from the European Parliament (EP)’s Committee on Fisheries visited Hà Nội and coastal provinces from October 28 to November 2 to examine Việt Nam’s efforts to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).
The delegation, led by Gabriel Mato, MEP and committee spokesperson, held a high-level meeting with the Prime Minister, the Vice Chairman of the National Assembly, ministers and officials from concerned agencies.
After the fact-finding tour, the delegation spoke highly of Việt Nam’s efforts and announced this to the media in Europe.
The delegation heard about enforced measures and newly-passed laws and met with officials from VASEP. They were provided with information about challenges and limitations facing the fisheries sector.
They hailed Vietnamese functional agencies and related fishing associations for partaking in discussions in an open, frank, cooperative and constructive manner. They said considerable improvements in the Law on Fisheries would surely increase the capacity to address and stop IUU fishing in Việt Nam’s seas.
They visited new monitoring facilities, like the Fisheries Monitoring Centre in Hà Nội and seaports in Quy Nhơn and Hải Phòng cities and welcomed VASEP’s publication of the white book on fighting IUU fishing in Việt Nam.
They talked about the challenges facing the country, like the over-capacity and resources abuse of the rapidly-developing processing sector, and weak legal awareness, monitoring policies and management that let fishermen work outside of Vietnamese waters, violating foreign areas.
The delegation recognised Việt Nam’s political efforts in committing to deal with IUU issues and emphasised that the country has allocated sufficient human and financial resources for the work.
Emphasising the importance of the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), they stressed the need to clarify bilateral cooperation in the fight against IUU in the programme on sustainable trade development of the agreement.
They pointed out that it is important for Việt Nam and the EU to continue their open dialogue so as to work together in successfully addressing challenges from illegal fishing activities in the wider world.
On October 23, 2017, the EC issued a "yellow card" warning to Việt Nam, after the country failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the fight against IUU fishing.
Countries that fail to meet EC standards are given a "yellow card", followed by a "green card" if the problems are resolved, or a "red card" if they are not. A red card can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.
A working delegation of the European Commission (EC)’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries made a fact-finding trip to Việt Nam in late May to inspect the implementation of recommendations related to the fight against IUU fishing.
EC officials will return to Việt Nam in January 2019 to evaluate one more time before considering the removal of the “yellow card” on Vietnamese seafood. — VNS