|Soldiers of Cửa Lân Fishing Port's Border Guard Station give regulations on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing to local fishermen in the coastal province of Thái Bình. — VNA/VNS Photo Thế Duyệt
THÁI BÌNH — The northern province of Thái Bình has made efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as per the recommendations of the European Commission.
The provincial Border Guard has coordinated with the Fisheries Division and local authorities of the two coastal districts of Thái Thụy and Tiền Hải to raise public awareness of IUU fishing.
Major Kiều Công Võ, captain of the supervision team of the Diêm Điền Port’s Border Guard Station in Thái Thụy District, said that in addition to getting local fishermen to sign commitments to not violate fishing regulations, the border guards had also strengthened inspections and banned unqualified vessels from leaving the ports.
Through the inspections, the team had found that the local fishermen had gradually changed their mindset and now obeyed the regulations, he said.
Tạ Duy Tú, a fisherman of the district’s Thụy Hải Commune, said he now announced his schedule, kept a fishing diary and followed procedures before leaving the ports.
Tú said he and other fishermen were obeying the regulations.
Nguyễn Văn Lang, the owner of two fishing vessels in Diêm Điền Town, said he installed vessel monitoring devices for his two fishing vessels in 2019, at a total cost of VNĐ19 million (US$810).
Lang said the installation of the devices helped fishermen feel more secure when going to sea, especially in bad weather conditions.
The advantage of installing the device was that the managerial agency could check where the ship was operating, he said.
"If the ship encounters a problem or an accident, it is easier for search and rescue teams," he said.
"The device also assists fishermen to operate in permitted waters," he said.
Hoàng Minh Giang, director of the division, said that although the provincial People's Committee had worked with relevant agencies to implement measures against IUU fishing, some challenges remained.
Currently, there are two fishing ports in the province, consisting of Tân Sơn and Cửa Lân, which have degraded infrastructure, causing difficulties in supervising the quantity of aquatic products and the fishing diaries of vessels.
Additionally, data of Cửa Lân Fishing Port has yet to be fully updated into the Việt Nam Fisheries Database (VNFishbase).
Another challenge is that some fishing vessels have been found to disconnect from the vessel monitoring system, making it difficult to inspect and control.
Data from the division showed that 40 fishing vessels lost connection signal, five vessels in Thái Thụy District did not install vessel monitoring devices; nine ships had not been issued with food safety certificates and 78 vessels had not been issued with fishing permits.
Giang said the province would continue enhancing the dissemination of the Law on Fisheries and regulations on combating IUU fishing as well as strengthening supervision of fishing vessels in order to remove the "yellow card" of the European Commission by this year under the direction of the Government.
According to the division, 760 fishing vessels have been registered and their data has been integrated into the VNFishbase; 97.26 per cent of the fishing vessels have installed vessel monitoring devices, 89.73 per cent of the fishing vessels have been licensed for fishing permits and 95.62 per cent of the fishing vessels have been granted food safety certificates.
EC’s yellow card
In 2017, the European Commission issued a yellow card warning to Việt Nam, meaning all shipments of seafood exported from the country to Europe will be subject to checks instead of random inspections like before.
Since the "yellow card" issuance, Việt Nam has been working hard to comply with the requirements stipulated by the European Commission.
Since earlier last year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Directorate of Fisheries have reviewed and promptly completed the system of legal documents to develop a project of preventing and combating IUU fishing by 2025.
According to the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the installation of the fishing vessel monitoring systems has been pushed by localities.
The situation of Vietnamese fishing vessels violating IUU fishing has been controlled. — VNS