Government action programme cracks down on illegal fishing

April 25, 2024 - 09:53
A raft of measures to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is included in the Government’s freshly issued action programme.
Officials inspect a vessel at Lạch Bạng fishing port in Thanh Hoá Province for compliance with legal regulations on combating IUU fishing. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — A raft of measures to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing are included in the Government’s freshly issued action programme as the country is striving to clamp down on illegal fishing, or else it will be hit by the European Commission (EC)’s warning card.

Among the short-term measures carried out until May 2024 are improving public awareness of IUU fishing prevention through effective communications and training, and firmly implementing the fisheries law to manage fishing fleets. Besides, it is essential to comply with both Vietnamese and international laws on seafood traceability, while investigating, identifying and handling all acts related to illegal fishing.

Regarding long-term measures, the Government resolves to complete policies and regulations on fisheries, especially those to modernise the sector, improve fishermen’s livelihoods and manage fishery workers in accordance with both domestic and international labour regulations.

Furthermore, it will encourage public-private cooperation to develop technical fishery infrastructure, improve the capacity and responsibility of the fisheries surveillance force and competent agencies, and push application of state-of-the-art technology and digital transformation in aquaculture to set up a sustainable production chain and advance towards the circular economy and green economy, integrating into the global supply chain and responding to climate change.

Other highlights of the programme include enhanced international cooperation in the domain, negotiations on delimitation of the exclusive economic zones and continental shelves between Việt Nam and foreign countries and settlement of sea disputes, and implementation of international commitments and treaties on protection of ocean resources and the marine ecosystem.

Right after receiving the EC’s yellow card in 2017, Việt Nam promptly enacted the Fisheries Law and established fishing vessel data covering registration and the issuance of fishing licences from central to local levels.

Relevant ministries, agencies, and coastal provinces and cities of the country have ramped up IUU fishing prevention efforts and solutions in line with directives of the permanent members of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, the Prime Minister and the National Steering Committee on IUU Fishing Prevention.

Full awareness, full action

A senior Party official has demanded full awareness, full action and full determination be made to have the “yellow card” warning over IUU fishing lifted this year.

The request was made by Trương Thị Mai, Politburo member, Permanent Member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and Chairwoman of the Party Central Committee’s Organisation Commission, at a meeting held on Monday to disseminate the Secretariat’s Directive 32-CT/TW on enhancing the Party’s leadership over the IUU fishing combat and the fisheries sector’s sustainable development.

The event was connected with the 28 coastal provinces and cities via videoconference.

Mai said that since the European Commission issued the “yellow card” in 2017, Việt Nam has become further aware of this issue’s negative impacts on the long-term development of the fisheries sector. Better awareness could be seen among all-level Party committees, the political system, localities, fishermen and relevant workers who have also made stronger and more active moves.

She emphasised the need for full awareness, action and determination to realise the targets and solutions specified in Directive 32-CT/TW. In particular, the “very high” target is to have the “yellow card” lifted in 2024.

The official cited the directive as identifying this as an important, urgent and long-term issue.

Negative impacts of the warning are clear, she pointed out, elaborating that all aquatic exports to the EU have to undergo examination, instead of random checks. Expenses companies have to pay have also increased. In the long run, if the “yellow card” is not removed, it will affect not only the development of the fisheries sector and the country, but also the livelihoods of millions of fishermen and relevant workers.

Given this, Mai asked relevant ministries, sectors and localities to show strong resolve to have the “yellow card” lifted this year.

In the long term, she added, it is necessary to restructure the fisheries sectors towards transparency, responsibility and sustainability; create suitable livelihoods and improve quality of life for fishermen and related workers; and conserve and develop fishery resources, thereby promoting Việt Nam’s image, stature and reputation.

Additionally, Party committees, organisations, agencies and units should commend collectives and individuals with good implementation of the Party’s guidelines and the State’s policies and laws in a timely manner, conduct frequent examinations, enhance consensus among and give support to fishermen and workers, and protect fishermen’s rights and legitimate interests, according to the Party official. VNS