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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Vietnam announces plan to combat illegal fishing practices

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Vietnam has begun to act against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices to shed seafood export restrictions imposed by the European Union.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on February 20 announced its plan to fight IUU fishing within 180 days before the fourth visit to Vietnam by European Commission (EC) inspectors.

The plan follows Government Decision No. 81, signed by the prime minister on February 13.

It calls for efforts to work out six tasks so that the EC may consider to remove its yellow card imposed on imports of fisheries from Vietnam.

By the end of May 2023, the authorities will have to spread information about Vietnam’s efforts to combat IUU fishing nationwide and worldwide, run vocational training courses and propagate domestic and foreign fishing laws to fishermen.

Besides, they must complete the country’s legal framework for regulating fisheries in line with the EC’s suggestions and national conditions, ensure all fishermen register for fishing licenses and install the vessel monitoring system, certify the origin of seafood exports to the EU and other markets, and keep fishermen from encroaching on foreign waters.

The Government decision also requires cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and China in information exchange and the handling of trawlers encroaching on foreign waters.

The EC first handed Vietnam a yellow card in October 2017 as a punitive measure against the nation’s inadequate actions to fight IUU fishing.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said there are positive movements in the nation’s efforts to address illegal fishing practices, but it is not enough to have the EC remove its yellow card.

The EC has launched three inspections on Vietnam’s actions to combat IUU fishing since. To get the yellow card removed, it proposed the nation complete the legal framework, enhance monitoring and traceability systems, prevent vessels from illegally fishing on foreign waters, and strengthen punitive measures against violators.

Vietnam’s seafood exports to the European Union have plunged significantly since the EC issued the yellow card due to lengthy customs scrutiny.

Earlier, customs clearance took about one to three days, but now it takes two or three weeks to complete.

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