Viet Nam News
BÀ RỊA-VŨNG TÀU — Authorities in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province have instructed fishing vessels to install GPS devices to minimise and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The move was made following the Government’s direction to ask the European Commission (EC) to revoke a “yellow card” warning against Vietnamese aquaculture products.
Boat owners who did not install GPS would not be granted fishing licences, the decision said.
Deputy director of the department Nguyễn Đức Hoàng said initial statistics showed that around 1,000 local fishing vessels had installed the devices.
Among them, 270 fishing ships were given funding to install Movimar GPS, which cost VNĐ135 million (US$5,800) each, he said.
Movimar satellite technology is a modern system which also helps fishermen get weather forecasts and communicate with the mainland and other boats in case of any incidents.
However, Hoàng said, the installation still faced certain challenges.
Most Movimar devices were old or even broken. The department had collected 70 devices to repair.
A number of local fishermen complained that the device was not easy to use because of complicated steps while it was hard to hear in strong winds.
Tôn Ân, a fisherman from Long Điền District, said many fishermen were not interested in installing Movimar because communication between fishing ships and the mainland had many difficulties.
Director of the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department Trần Văn Cường said another challenge was the lack of strict management and related regulations, making it hard to manage and punish fishing ships that did not install or turn on tracking devices.
The amended Law on Fisheries will take effect from January 1, 2019, requiring all fishing vessels with a length of over 15m to install tracking devices.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had yet to issue guidance and technical standards for the installation of these devices, according to Cường.
As a result, many ship owners had installed devices that were not connected to local authorities, making it hard for them to supervise their operations.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had asked the ministry to issue technical standards for the installation of the devices and connect monitoring systems between localities nationwide to ensure unity, Cường said.
In October last year, the EC imposed a yellow card on Vietnamese seafood for failing to stop IUU fishing.
Since the imposition of the yellow card, the Government, ministries, agencies and localities have been trying to meet the EC’s demands.
The EC had taken note of Việt Nam’s efforts in addressing IUU fishing and its inspectors were expected to return to Việt Nam in January next year to review progress in addressing its ‘yellow card’ warning, according to the ministry. — VNS