Fishing boats in Ninh Thuận Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thành
Phạm Anh Tuấn, vice chairman of the Việt Nam Fishing Association, talks to Vietnam News Agency on the need to follow all recommendations from the European Commission (EC) to get the yellow card on fishing removed
Why is lifting the yellow card so important to the Vietnamese fishing sector?
The lifting of the yellow card over illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is very important for the country.
According to the EU, the yellow card means Việt Nam has violated certain EU rules on legal fishing activities and has not fully declared where fish products came from. Such violations have prevented international authorities from tracing whether Vietnamese fish products came from Việt Nam or not. These are strong indications Việt Nam has failed to follow rules against IUU fishing. What’s more important is that if Việt Nam doesn't make a change, it will not only receive the yellow card but even a red card (banning imports).
It has been two years since Việt Nam has received the EU's yellow cards. What has Việt Nam done to have the card removed?
In the past two years, Việt Nam has made big efforts to have the yellow card removed. For example, we have launched many communication campaigns on the benefits of having the yellow card removed and tackling IUU fishing. Adding to this, we have also advised our fishermen to keep fishing log books.
Has Việt Nam learned from the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea's efforts to have their yellow cards removed?
In my opinion, the most important lesson is to strictly follow the EC recommendations. Then, Việt Nam also needs to better exert itself to remove the yellow card.
Last but not least, we should convince the EC to give us more time to work out a road map in the course of making changes.
Is the most challenging requirement for Việt Nam is to have the origin of fish be clear?
I can’t agree more. Việt Nam is a tropical country so one catch may have various fish categories. Adding to that, Vietnamese fishermen are not in the habit of recording their daily fishing activities.
Further, many Vietnamese fishing vessels don’t have log books or other similar equipment. This is big challenge for them. For the time being, I think this requirement should be applied to fishing fleets that catch fish for export.
Removing the yellow card is the top priority. But in the long run, what should the fishing sector do to make sure the fishing sector will develop sustainably?
The first thing we have to do is to ensure that fish have time for reproduction. To achieve this, we need to launch regular evaluations to define the fish output to be extracted while strictly implementing all the EC recommendations. In addition, we should only use fishing nets which are recommended by the EU authorities. — VNS