|Fisherman with a bountiful catch in Núi Thành District of the central coastal province of Quảng Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Đỗ Trưởng|
HÀ NỘI – Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng has urged localities to promptly take measures to prevent Vietnamese fishermen from illegally fishing in foreign waters.
He made the request at a meeting with ministries and agencies and authorities of coastal localities yesterday to tackle the problem, which is ongoing and has been getting worse since the end of 2015 in the central provinces of Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, and Bình Thuận, as well as southern provinces of Kiên Giang, Cà Mau, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Bến Tre and Tiền Giang.
At the meeting, participants said that fishery is a key economic sector that has played an important role in the development of the country.
However, some fishermen illegally fished in foreign waters, risking their property and lives as well as Việt Nam’s prestige in the international arena and its diplomatic relations with other countries.
The problem has also harmed the export of Vietnamese seafood products abroad.
The meeting participants blamed the situation on economic factors and the fishermen’s lack of awareness.
Ineffective State management and lenient punishments were also issues, as was the sharp reduction of seafood resources in some of Việt Nam’s waters.
Deputy PM Dũng asked ministries and localities to continue implementing the Prime Minister’s Directive No 689 issued in 2010, the PM’s official order No 1329 issued in 2012 and the latest official order of the PM issued on Sunday on preventing, reducing and ending the issue.
They were also asked to adjust regulations to match international commitments and adjust policies and regulations to tighten management to prevent Vietnamese fishermen from illegally fishing in foreign waters.
The deputy PM asked Chairmen of People’s Committees of coastal localities to guide the implementation of measures to prevent the ongoing violation, saying they will have to bear responsibility before the Prime Minister for any violations taking place in their localities.
Agencies were directed to complete mechanisms on fisheries and to review and supplement legal documents to increase punishments for ship owners and to clarify the responsibilities of authorities in cases of illegal fishing.
Maritime law enforcement forces will increase patrols to protect fishermen in Vietnamese waters, Dũng said.
For the long-term, Dũng asked for improved information dissemination on relevant laws to raise awareness of local authorities and fishermen on the impacts of violations on the country, their families and themselves.
He also instructed agencies to review, complete and implement fisheries development programmes and strategies, including the master plan on reorganising production in fisheries exploitation and the fisheries development master plan until 2020 with a vision to 2030.
Dũng asked ministries and agencies to continue negotiating and signing agreements on seafood co-operation with countries inside and outside of the region.
PM official order
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Sunday issued an official order requesting leaders focus on preventing Vietnamese fishermen from illegally fishing in foreign waters.
He requested the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development launch a national action plan on preventing, reducing and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and make amendments to current regulations and add terms of punishments to better regulate vessels’ owners, captains, organisations and individuals that conduct IUU fishing.
He also requested the ministry increase international collaboration on fishing, establish an international illegal fishing prevention hotline, carry out maritime patrols with other countries and popularise Việt Nam’s and international regulations on fishing in areas where illegal fishing is common.
The Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, is responsible for regulating fishing vessels by ensuring they have completed necessary procedures, as well as checking documents before allowing them to sail and return to land.
The ministry is also responsible for patrolling maritime borders and overlapping waters between countries.
The Ministry of Information and Communication is responsible for popularising the delimitation of waters between Việt Nam and some neighbouring countries among citizens, as well as Vietnamese and international regulations on seafood harvesting.
The chairmen of people’s committees of localities and leaders of local sectors where illegal fishing is common are responsible for reviewing, investigating and imposing penalties on authorities that perpetuate illegal fishing. They must also report their investigation results to the Prime Minister before August 15. - VNS