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Vietnam treats IUU fishing as criminal offense from August

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Vietnam is taking tougher action against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and individuals involved in brokering IUU fishing operations in foreign waters and falsifying seafood export documents will be treated as criminal offenders from August 1.

The Judicial Council of the Supreme People’s Court on June 12 adopted a resolution treating the brokering of IUU fishing operations in foreign waters and the falsification of seafood export documents as criminal offenses. Resolution 04 is set to take effect on August 1 this year.

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang, speaking at an online meeting of the IUU fishing steering committee with 28 coastal provinces and cities yesterday, June 17, told local authorities to strictly enforce the Judicial Council’s resolution.

Resolution No. 04/2024/NQ-HDTP outlines guidelines for the prosecution of those involved in IUU fishing activities.

According to Quang, masterminds, brokers, and organizers of IUU fishing trips in foreign waters, as well as repeat offenders will face legal action. But hired fishing crew members are exempt from prosecution.

He also stressed the need for quick actions to get the EU’s yellow card on Vietnamese seafood exports lifted.

The European Commission’s fifth inspection in Vietnam is scheduled for September or October this year.

While the EU yellow card is in place, all seafood export containers from Vietnam are subject to stringent inspections, causing shipment delays of three to four weeks per container. Inspection fees alone total around 500 euro per container, excluding port storage costs.

The poor handling of the case could result in a red card, which would ban Vietnamese seafood exports to the EU and possibly other markets as well.

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