EC reschedules fifth IUU fishing inspection in Việt Nam

May 21, 2024 - 17:07
While awaiting inspection, Việt Nam will continue to take action to remove the EC’s 'yellow card' for local fishery products.
Hòn Chông port border guards inspect a fishing vessel off the coast of Kiên Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải

HÀ NỘI — The European Commission (EC) has rescheduled an inspection on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Việt Nam from May to this upcoming autumn, according to Director of the Fishery Inspection Department Nguyễn Quang Hùng.

The visit will take place around September-October instead of May, as previously expected.

In the interim, Việt Nam will continue to take strict actions to remove the EC’s 'yellow card' for local fishery products.

Deputy Prime Minister Trần Lưu Quang is also expected to chair a meeting and conduct a field visit on measures against IUU fishing in coastal areas in June.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will also have a monthly plan for on-site inspections along the coast starting now and continuing until the EC’s visit.

Hùng emphasised that the key priorities in the meantime are minimising violations committed by local fishing vessels in foreign waters and strictly enforcing regulations.

At the same time, authorities must take action for vessel management to ensure eligibility for fishing at sea, in addition to verifying fishery product origins at the ports.

“These are the key tasks and they must be radically addressed with visible results from now until September in order for us to have a chance at lifting the ‘yellow card’.

“Otherwise, it would be very difficult to report to and negotiate with the EC,” said Hùng.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến also stressed that authorities must follow the EC’s four groups of recommendations for Việt Nam, alongside the completion of policy frameworks, specific action plans and strengthened inspections on fishing fleets.

Authorities must also ensure that 100 per cent of the vessels have a vessel monitoring system (VMS) installed, and that no ships are allowed to set sail without meeting all the requirements.

A digital tracing plan is also expected to be issued to prevent documentation fraud in product origin certification. Higher administrative fines will also be imposed for violations.

According to a report from the MARD, the EC’s fourth IUU fishing inspection in Việt Nam in October last year showed that positive progress had been made, but limitations and shortcomings still remain, which means the 'yellow card' warning has not been removed.

The removal of the 'yellow card' on marine products is seen as a critical and urgent task for Việt Nam, as the European Union is among the top 3 largest export markets for Vietnamese seafood, only behind the US and China. — VNS