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Defence Ministry actively engages in fighting IUU fishing

The Defence Ministry has employed drastic measures to prevent and curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in line with its assigned functions and tasks, heard at a meeting in Hanoi on September 12.

At the meeting between the ministry and the national steering committee for IUU fishing prevention,  the ministry reported that the border guard, coast guard and naval forces had approached 1,310 vessels at sea to educate them on IUU and distributed leaflets on the matter to 22,000 fishing vessels.

The navy has launched a support programme targeting fishermen in 28 coastal provinces and cities, while the coast guard force implemented a model of accompanying fishermen, persuading ship owners and captains not to violating foreign waters or fishing illegally.

The Defence Ministry’s forces coordinated with local authorities to verify information on 187 cases involving 336 Vietnamese ships and 2,430 fishermen seized by foreign authorities, and shared information on foreign fishing ships encroaching in Vietnamese waters with relevant agencies of the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other ministries, agencies.

The border guard force has worked closely with fishery inspection agencies of coastal localities to strictly monitor and control the entry and exit of fishing vessels at fishing ports and operation at sea. The navy and coastal guard force have set up hotlines with their counterparts in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia for the exchange of maritime information, helping with the quick settlement cases related to fishing ships and fishermen.

The steering committee for IUU fishing prevention asked ministries, agencies and coastal localities to continue boosting communication campaigns targeting ship owners and captains, push ahead with the installation of monitoring devices, and strictly punish ships engaging in IUU fishing.

On October 23, 2017, the EC issued a "yellow card" warning to Vietnam, after the country failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the fight against IUU fishing.

Countries that fail to meet EC standards are given a "yellow card", followed by a "green card" if the problems are resolved, or a "red card" if they are not. A red card can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.

According to EC requirements, the Vietnamese seafood sector had to implement nine recommendations, including revisions of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules, applicable to the conservation and management of fisheries resources; ensuring the enforcement of the country’s revised laws; and strengthening implementation of international rules and management measures.

The EC also wanted Vietnam to issue sanctions against IUU fishing, which should be written in the revised Law on Fisheries, and give concrete evidence proving Vietnam’s efforts in the fight against IUU fishing.