Hai Quan (Customs) Online spoke with Viet Nam Fishery General Secretary Tran Cao Muu about the Government's latest draft decree on developing the fisheries sector.
What are the difficulties that fishermen currently face?
For many years, fishermen have had encountered many difficulties when going fishing: a lack of capital, old ships and boats and other fishing equipment, and natural disasters.
Although, one of the bigger challenges for fishermen comes from China. Though we don't have an official figure, for at least the last ten years, we have 30 or 40 cases every year in which Vietnamese fishermen have been rammed or robbed by Chinese ships when going to fish offshore. Many fishermen came back with nothing, not to mention losing everything they had.
The Government's draft decree on developing the fisheries sector consists of many policies. What is your opinion about on these policies?
The State and the Government have always adopted supportive policies to help our fishermen. However, the recent draft decree is far more comprehensive than previous documents. It consists of policies to lend money to fishermen to build ships at low interest rates, oil and gas price subsidies, insurance and extra training.
Previous policies for each region might have been different. With the new draft decree, the policies are the same across all localities. In the context when China continues their provocative acts, causing disadvantage and damage to our fishermen, the Government's draft decree is giving crucial support to the country's fishermen.
What are the most important parts of the draft decree?
The policies included in the draft decree are quite comprehensive. Under the plan, the Government would foot 100 per cent of the cost for building infrastructure for fishing ports, storm shelters for ships and onboard communication devices.
The credit policies create favourable conditions for ship owners to take out medium to long term loans to pay for between 70 to 90 per cent of the ship's cost. The ceiling interest rate is 3 per cent over 10 years.
What's more important is that fishermen can use the value of the newly-built ships as collateral, instead of using any their own assets.
What would be the outcome of this draft decree, once approved?
Previously, many policies have been issued but problems kept arising. For example, there used to be a policy on lending money to fishermen at low interest rate, but in reality, banks asked for too many procedures and requirements that fishermen can't meet. And the policy ended up being inaccessible.
With the current situation in the East Sea, many people have come to realize that we should elevate the importance of the fisheries sector and provide more investment. Also, we should see fishermen not only as those who work to earn their living, but also as the country's living border marks, to display and protect the country's sovereignty over its seas. Thus, supporting fishermen is not the sole responsibility of any localities, but of our whole society.
The policies mentioned in the draft decree are appropriate and meet the demand of fisherman. Personally, I think the Government, as well as the ministries and sectors have been determined to do this, given the current context.
I'm confident the decree will create many positive changes if approved. — VNS