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EC ready to support Vietnam in fighting IUU fishing: EU commissioner

The European Commission (EC) is willing to cooperate and support Vietnamese authorities in their reforms to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner of the European Union for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

In an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Brussels on the occasion of Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong’s ongoing working visit to the EU from March 20-24 to promote the removal of "yellow card measure" in Vietnam for IUU fishing, Vella said the EC welcomes the high level commitments expressed by Vietnamese authorities, notably the Plan adopted by the MARD to implement urgent measures to overcome the yellow card adopted in October 2017.

“Nonetheless, the European Commussions reiterates its concerns as regards the translation of such commitments into tangible measures aiming at addressing the serious shortcomings that led the Commission to adopt the yellow card,” he noted.

According to Vella, the adoption of the pre-identification (yellow card) of Vietnam as non-cooperating country in fighting IUU fishing in October 2017 is the formalisation of a dialogue in place since 2012. This step is a warning, but does not imply any kind of trade related measures.

“The objective of the EU IUU policy is to enter into a logic of cooperation with the competent authorities of third countries to ensure they align their legal and administrative frameworks with their international obligations to fight against IUU fishing and establish adequate control mechanisms,” he said.

Vietnamese authorities are expected to provide by April 2018, 6 months after the adoption of the yellow card, with a progress report addressing the implementation of the action plan, he said, adding that the EC will evaluate, including by means of visits to the country, the content of the action plan in light of the shortcomings established in the Commission Decision of 23 October 2017.

Talking about the possibility of removing the yellow card for Vietnam in this Decision Vella said any action as regards Vietnam will follow a careful analysis of the actions undertaken by the authorities to remedy the deficiencies that led to the yellow card.

“The revocation of the yellow card will only be possible if all the mentioned deficiencies are sufficiently addressed.”

It is to be noted that, in case the situation is not improved, the Commission may proceed with the identification of the country as non-cooperating in fighting IUU fishing (red card) and with the proposal to the Council of the EU to list the country as non-cooperating in fighting IUU fishing, he noted.