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Fishing vessels to be closely controlled to end IUU

Preventing and ending vessels’ illegal fishing overseas is the first requirement to lift “yellow card” warning by the European Commission, said Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Quang Hung.

In an interview recently granted to Vietnam News Agency, Hung said the Fisheries Law and relevant decrees stipulate that fishermen going out to sea must be in the right occupation allowed in the fishing licence. They are banned from fishing in wrong areas and routes, using mines or explosives and destructive fishing tools.

Regarding the size of fishing vessels, the law stipulates clearly that ships with a length of 15m or above are only allowed to fish in sea areas of Vietnam, ships of 12-15m can only work in inshore route, and ships under 12m can operate in coastal route. Fishing wrong areas and routes also means violating the law.

Offshore fishing vessels are also required to install cruise control equipment and maintain operations from departure to arrival. Fishermen at sea must keep a full log of fishing, which is important to trace product origin. Additionally, fishermen are prohibited from using child labour in accordance with the labour law.

Hung said the Government issued Decree No.42/2019/ND-CP regulating fines on administrative violations in fisheries field. Accordingly, if fishermen commit one of the 14 violation behaviours, they will be punished in line with the law.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh asked cities and provinces to take more drastic actions to raise fishermen’s awareness of legal regulations. He hailed Quang Ninh, Binh Dinh, Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Binh Thuan for doing such job well, contributing to reducing the number of violating fishing vessels.

Hung revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is assigning the Directorate of Fisheries to build a draft project on the prevention and control of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), in a bid to lift “yellow card” warning by 2022 and develop fisheries sustainably and effectively.

During its implementation, there will be nationwide specialised inspections and strict punishments if violations are found. Advanced technologies will be adopted in fishing management.

The fisheries sector was required to perfect database on fishing vessels and fishing vessel supervision centre from the central to local levels. A fisheries management centre is also expected to be established at the Directorate of Fisheries.

The project will take more drastic measures and increase patrols while launching drives to inspect and handle fishing vessels violating foreign waters./.