Sanctions for illegal fishing to be amended to deter violations

Update: July, 19/2021 - 08:41


Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến. — Photo

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến speaks to Báo điện tử chính phủ (the Government Portal) about plans to amend a number of policies to put an end to the illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing activities

At a recent meeting of the national steering committee for IUU fishing prevention and 28 coastal localities nationwide, the localities more clearly recognised their responsibilities in stopping IUU fishing. So how will this help to get the "yellow card" removed in 2022?

As Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành said at the meeting, the European Commission (EC) acknowledged Việt Nam’s commitment and determination to implement IUU fishing requirements over the past four years.

However, limitations still exist.

At the meeting, the steering committee pointed out the shortcomings of ministries, agencies and localities.

We see the rate of fishing vessels equipped with vessel monitoring system (VMS) device accounts for 87.45 per cent and fishing vessels which have been marked and identified account for more than 90 per cent of the total. But in some provinces, this ratio only reaches about 50 per cent, affecting IUU fishing prevention in Việt Nam.

In the near future, amended related legal documents need to specify the responsibility of vessel suppliers and fishermen so we can thoroughly handle this issue.

As Deputy Prime Minister Thành said, Việt Nam is determined to get the "yellow card" removed by 2022.

What do localities need to do in the near future?

Leaders of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) directly visited many fishing ports of 28 localities and found that vessel owners broke the rules by turning off their VMS devices or failing to present proper fishing records.

The ministry has suggested that leaders, Party committees and local authorities closely monitor and call for stricter enforcement of current regulations to deter violations.

In a report at the meeting, MARD said it is amending Decree 42 on administrative sanctions in the fisheries sector to deter violations. Can you share more about this issue?

We have the Fisheries Law 2017, which took effect at the beginning of 2019 with two guiding decrees including Decree 42 on administrative sanctions and Decree No 26 on guidelines for the Fisheries Law and eight circulars.

The process of developing legal documents was consulted by EC. They said the handling of violations specified in Decree 42 was not enough of a deterrent and reminded us to raise the penalty higher than the current level. However, with our socioeconomic status, we explained it is effective.

In the near future, after receiving opinions from provinces, cities, ministries and agencies, we will revise Decree 42 to improve supervision, law enforcement and sanction. Decree 26 will also be amended.

Regarding policies, we have reported to the Government and Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính for permission to amend Decree 67 on supporting fishermen and fisheries development. This amendment aims to support fishermen, ensure fishing at sea, maintain national defence and security as well as IUU fishing prevention. — VNS