Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vũ Văn Tám.
The National Assembly has passed a revised law on fisheries as Việt Nam prepares a national plan to prevent, minimise and eliminate illegal fishing by 2025. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vũ Văn Tám, talks with the Tin Tức (News) newspaper about the issue
Could you explain the regulations on licensing fishing, catch quotas, and fishing capacity in the newly-adopted revised Law on Fisheries?
The revised law progresses from the Law on Fisheries issued in 2003 and now complies with international laws on protection of aquaculture resources.
The regulation on fishing licensing is a form of management applied in many countries.
Granting quotas would be based on evaluation of aquaculture reserves to ensure sustainable exploitation.
The granting of licences would be decentralised to provincial people’s commitees.
At present, on-shore fishing has been over-exploited in many provinces. Has the new revised law any regulations dealing with this?
Under the revised law, fishing regulations are based on aquaculture reserves. There has been overfishing in many localities. The law regulates that local governments take responsibility for fishing controls.
Besides, local governments have to set up plans for aqua-breeding areas for protection and preservation.
We would control fishing by granting licences for boats as well as managing the building of new boats.
In the future, Việt Nam would apply regulations depending on the season, like in many other countries.
In fact, the Law on Fisheries in 2003 did have this regulation, but it was not implemented.
Việt Nam has recently received a “yellow card” from the European Commission because of its failure to meet standards against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Therefore, we must strictly implement the regulation.
Moreover, the revised law gives stricter sanctions to overfishing.
How does the revised law deal with IUU fishing?
The issue is regulated under the revised law, which is based on principles of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, Port State Measures Agreement by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and some other international rules.
Under the revisions, IUU fishing would be heavily fined. Fishing boat owners and captains would be given the highest fines of VNĐ1 billion (US$44,000) for violations. The organisations involved in IUU fishing would be fined VNĐ2 billion (US$88,000). Apart from this, fishing licences would be revoked.
Việt Nam has been making efforts to have the "yellow card" withdrawn within six months.
Recently, the Prime Minister asked local governments to take measures to prevent Vietnamese fishermen from illegally fishing in foreign seas.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has also set up a national plan of action to control IUU fishing.
The Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors would also call its members not to buy IUU fishing products. — VNS