HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng wants answers to stop illegal fishing in Việt Nam’s waters.
Dũng has called on ministries and sectors to give practical solutions to the management and investment of material and human resources to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
It is hoped that by acting quickly, the European Commission’s yellow card warning hanging over the industry will be removed.
Speaking at the first meeting the National Steering Committee on IUU in Hà Nội on Friday, Dũng said if exploitation problems could not be resolved, Việt Nam would be identified as a non-cooperative country and may be subject to 'red card' measure.
“That means all Vietnamese seafood products will be banned from export to the EU,” Dũng warned.
He asked the committee to focus on evaluating results so far and point out shortcomings countrywide.
Dũng wanted all relevant sectors to seriously assess and use their experience to better manage the industry.
“We need to focus on discussing and defining each specific task associated with the responsibilities of each ministry, committee, branch and People's Committee of 28 provinces and major cities,” Dũng said.
He said the sector had made great progress in the past, becoming one of the key economic sectors of Việt Nam.
“In addition to the achieved results, there are still many shortcomings and weaknesses, which are slow to overcome and fail to meet the integration trend,” he added.
This is reflected by the decision in 2017 to issue Việt Nam with a warning from the EC for failing to comply with regulations on combating IUU fishing.
After the warning, all of seafood shipments originating from Việt Nam to European markets were scrutinised.
If the level reached red card status, Việt Nam will be banned from selling to the EU, a major market for seafood exports.
According to Nguyễn Xuân Cường, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the sector had made efforts to implement the EC's recommendations, especially handling violations in foreign waters in the Pacific island countries. Meanwhile, localities have also implemented digital regulations on declaration, recording and administration of fishing activities.
However, he said these activities had not yet seen a breakthrough. “We have to restructure moving to sustainable fisheries. This is a long-term operation, including synchronous tasks and solutions, not just to hasten only the EC’s "yellow card”.
MARD’s Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries, Nguyen Ngoc Oai said his ministry and the Ministry of National Defence had signed regulations to enhance law enforcement at sea.
He said: “It will strengthen the presence of law enforcement forces such as fisheries, navy and coast guard in adjacent coastal areas and dispute areas between Việt Nam and other countries in the region to solve fishing vessels violation and timely support ships which were illegally arrested and handled by foreign ships.”
From last year, there were no violations by fishing vessels or fishermen in the waters of Pacific island countries.
Currently, Việt Nam has implemented a system to monitor and control 31,500 vessels with a length of 15 metres or more, with a satellite surveillance system.
According to Oai, since the yellow card warning, the system found 110 fishing vessels in foreign waters. These violations had been sent to localities and fines issued. — VNS