|Vietnam resolved to have illegal fishing label lifted: A Vietnamese fishing vessel. (Photo: VNA)
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, since the EC issued the "yellow card" warning on October 23, 2017 and conducted three rounds of inspection in Vietnam, the EC affirmed that the country's process of lifting the warning is heading in the right direction with positive improvements.
Relevant ministries, agencies and coastal cities and provinces embarked on the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and followed EC's recommendations under the direction of permanent members of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, the Prime Minister, and the National Steering Committee on IUU.
However, several localities still see incidents of Vietnamese fishing boats encroaching foreign fishing grounds.
On February 13, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang signed a decision approving an action plan to fight IUU fishing and prepare for the fourth working session with the EC’s inspection team.
Accordingly, the Vietnamese Government maintains its position that preventing and eliminating IUU fishing is the responsibility of each coastal country to protect its seafood resources and marine ecosystem, ensure sustainable livelihoods of local residents, national defence and security in coastal areas, and follow international commitments and treaties that Vietnam has joined.
The Government requires the top leaders of Party committees and authorities at all levels of relevant ministries, agencies, sectors and localities to directly lead and take responsibility for the fight against IUU practices, making it a top priority political task.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Directorate of Fisheries, 97.5% of fishing vessels nationwide were equipped with vessel monitoring devices as of the late April. Ten out of 28 coastal cities and provinces set up their own fisheries inspection teams while approximately 28.5% of the total fishery output was monitored through ports.
Last year, 84 Vietnamese fishing vessels were detained by foreign authorities for violating fishing grounds. Since early this year, 16 vessels have been detained.
The Directorate of Fisheries said factors behind IUU fishing include declining marine resources, rising fuel prices, disruptions in global supply chain, and especially limited awareness about IUU among fishermen as well as local officials. A lack of resources to enforce laws, poor infrastructure and weak apparatus of the fishery sector also hinder the fight.
The European Union (EU) is among the top five biggest markets of Vietnam's aquatic products, following the US, China, and preceding Japan and the Republic of Korea. Among 11 billion USD worth of Vietnam’s fishery product export last years, 1.3 billion USD came from the EU market.