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Vietnam on right track to lift EC’s yellow card: official

Vietnam has carried out comprehensive measures as recommended by the European Commission (EC) to remove a “yellow card” warning from the commission on Vietnamese seafood, according to Deputy General Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Quang Hung.

A fishing vessel of Vietnam in Ha Tien sea (Photo: VNA)

A national steering board on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing prevention and control was established to facilitate direction from central- to local-level authorities, he said, stressing 28 coastal cities and provinces have also established inspection groups at fishing ports, and implemented decrees and circulars related to the Fisheries Law in 2017, as well as measures to fight against illegal fishing.

Hung added the moves have resulted in a better control of local fishing vessels while facilitating the traceability of seafood products.

Most recently, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Ministry of Defence to work with competent ministries and sectors to outline measures aimed at preventing and eliminating illegal fishing in foreign waters. In fact, there is no vessel trespassing into waters of Pacific Ocean countries. However, many ships still fish in unidentified and overlapping waters with Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Hung underlined that his ministry and the directorate have intensified negotiations with the EC so that it can thoroughly see Vietnam’s efforts in handling IUU fishing in the past time.

As suggested by the EC, Vietnam has worked to complete the revision of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules applied to the conservation and management of fisheries resources. Meanwhile, the Fisheries Law lays important foundation for the effective law enforcement at sea.

Regarding international cooperation, Vietnam has boosted collaboration with regional countries, and set up hot lines to settle sea-related issues. Besides, Vietnam has proactively attended international forums to enhance fisheries cooperation and exchange experience in IUU prevention.

In a bid to meet EC’s requirement on sustainable fisheries exploitation, the Southeast Asian country has set fishing quota for coastal areas, onshore area and offshore area.

Hailing efforts by localities to remove the “yellow card”, Hung said the coastal cities and provinces have issued documents and promote communications on the Prime Minister’s plan as well as the agriculture ministry’s direction to raise fishermen’s awareness of sustainable fisheries exploitation and IUU fishing.

The localities will complete the installation of voyage supervision equipment for fishing vessels to better manage the local fishing fleet.

Touching on measures to lift “yellow card” warning on Vietnamese seafood, Hung said that the Government should map re-planning for fisheries sector and fishing port system, and increase investment in fishing port infrastructure.

He laid a special stress on the importance of improving local fishermen’s awareness of IUU fishing, saying localities should further communications work and mobilise fishermen to abide by legal regulations.