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EC recognises Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU, to conduct inspection in Q1, 2022

The European Commission (EC) continued to recognise Vietnam's efforts to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, according to Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) Nguyen Quang Hung.

Hung said at the recent online meeting between the directorate and the EC, the EC appreciated the changes in terms of legal matters, one of the four groups of recommendations made by the EC to Vietnam to solve IUU fishing. The EC basically approved the revisions Vietnam has made to the legal framework.

It is noteworthy that the EC said Vietnam had done fairly well regarding seafood origin control, with very small volume of aquatic products returned from the EU markets compared to previous years, according to Hung. 

However, the monitoring of fishing vessels has faced many difficulties in the recent past due to the resurgence of COVID-19, and the number of operating vessels also reduced.

As for law enforcement, localities have been active in popularizing laws and regulations on IUU fishing among fishermen, and tightening punishments on violations, with the aim of ending fishing vessels’ violation of foreign waters as soon as possible.

Hung noted that the EC pointed to limitations and slow improvement in some localities, one of which is the operation of the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), with a number of vessels over 24m long not keeping their VMS devices connected.

The EC also required Vietnam to extend management of seafood from the current 49 designated seaports to 66 other seaports for 15m fishing boats, in order to ensure that all seafood catches are legal.  

Another problem is the limited punishment of violations of foreign waters, Hung said, adding that the EC requested intensifying the investigation of such violations for due punishment.

On the implementation of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA), there are many things Vietnam needs to improve, as it is not long since the country acceded to the agreement.

The official said if the pandemic situation allows, the EC plans to conduct direct inspections at seaports and localities in Vietnam in the first quarter next year./.