Efforts to counter illegal fishing stepped up

February 22, 2023 - 07:12
Representatives of many localities pointed out difficulties in handling violated fishing vessels. They proposed specific measures to contribute to the removal of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing violators at the conference held on Monday in Hà Nội.
Fishing vessels docked in the southern province of Kiên Giang. VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải 

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is working on specific measures to develop a sustainable fishery sector in the long run, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến.

Representatives of many localities attending a conference held on Monday in Hà Nội pointed out difficulties in handling violated fishing vessels. They proposed specific measures to help stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing violators.

Nguyễn Tuấn Thanh, Vice Chairman of Bình Định People’s Committee, noted that difficulties the locality faces include the unstable vessel inspection systems and equipment and the lax fines of violators.

Lê Quốc Anh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Kiên Giang Province, which led the country in IUU fishing violations, called for fishermen not to work in foreign waters illegally, comply with regulations when fishing in allowed waters and ensure the inspection equipment open all the time. He also proposed that lists of violators be made public.

Huỳnh Thái Sơn, director of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province would focus on checking all fishing ports to inspect 100 per cent of hauls while inspecting fishing vessels arriving or departing its ports.

It will also report IUU fishing violators and vessels that have their inspection equipment disconnected for more than ten days.

Noting that removing the yellow card imposed by the EC is an important task, Minister Tiến requested relevant agencies to deploy all resources to meet the target.

He ordered the authorities to implement documents and action plans soon closely.

Since the European Commission issued a yellow card warning to Việt Nam for not doing enough to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2017, the government organised meetings with ministries, agencies and localities to discuss the issue.

On February 13 this year, PM Chính issued a 180-day action plan against IUU fishing.

The Kiên Giang provincial Party Committee and People’s Committee have issued a letter appealing to locals to strongly support the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The letter particularly targets fishing vessel owners, executives of fishing, seafood purchasing and processing companies, captains, and fishermen in the Mekong Delta province.

The targeted groups are urged to promptly carry out the Government’s 180-day action plan against IUU fishing, implement the European Commission (EC)’s recommendations, and not take fishing vessels to foreign waters for fishing.

They are also urged to carry out all necessary administrative procedures before vessels leave for fishing trips, keep their vessel monitoring systems constantly operating during fishing trips, and adhere to vessel arrival regulations.

An inspection team of the EC is scheduled to return to Việt Nam in April to examine the country’s anti-IUU fishing moves. The country strives to have the EC’s “yellow card” warning against this issue removed in 2023, which heavily depends on fishermen’s cooperation.

Just one fishing vessel infringing in foreign waters can ruin all efforts to persuade the EC to lift the “yellow card”, the letter emphasised. — VNS