EC delegation to inspect IUU fishing in Vietnam

A working delegation from the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries will visit Vietnam from May 16 to 23.
ec delegation to inspect iuu fishing in vietnam

The delegation will inspect the country’s implementation of the EC’s nine recommendations related to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Xuan Cuong have guided the Directorate of Fisheries and 28 coastal cities and provinces over receiving the EC delegation.

The Directorate of Fisheries has sent a document to urge and direct 28 localities, as well as associations and businesses to complete dossiers on the fight against IUU fishing before April 23.

After the inspection, the EU will give its final decision over whether it seeks to withdraw the “yellow card” from Vietnamese offshore seafood.

On October 23, 2017, the EC issued a "yellow card" warning to Vietnam, after the country failed to demonstrate sufficient progress in the fight against fishing worldwide. Though the measure was considered a warning, which would not technically affect the EC trade policy, the Vietnamese fishing industry was concerned that the yellow card would seriously harm the reputation of Vietnamese seafood worldwide, thus weakening sales.

To address IUU fishing activities, the EC evaluates exporting countries. Countries that fail to meet the EC’s standards are issued a warning ("yellow card"), followed by a "green card" if issues are resolved or a "red card" if they aren’t. A red card can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.

According to EC’s requirement, the Vietnamese seafood sector had to implement nine recommendations in six months from October 23, 2017, to April 23, 2018.

Deputy Minister of MARD Ho Cong Tuan said the nine recommendations included revision of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules applicable to the conservation and management of fisheries resources, ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of the country’s revised laws, and strengthening the effective implementation of international rules and management measures.

The EC also wanted Vietnam to issue sanctions and increase the level of sanctions against IUU fishing, which should be written in the revised Law on Fisheries, and give concrete evidence proving Vietnam’s efforts in the fight against IUU fishing.

Nguyen Thi Trang Nhung, Deputy Director of the Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation under MARD, said efforts of the entire political system of Vietnam had resulted in noticeable advances in the certification of seafood origins and control of fishing boats’ activities.

Speaking at Seafood Expo Global in Belgium, which aimed to update the media and European seafood importers on measures Vietnam was taking to combat IUU fishing, Nhung said as the yellow card can affect the prestige and trade of Vietnamese seafood in the European and global markets, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) as well as businesses have made every effort over the last six months to co-operate with authorised agencies and with one another to fight IUU fishing.

Le Hang, a representative of VASEP, said the association had been regularly updating the list of fisheries businesses committed to IUU fishing prevention on its website in both English and Vietnamese, thus showing Vietnamese firms’ consensus and determination to EU importers and managerial agencies.

She noted that after the EU issued the yellow card warning, seafood exports to the Vietnamese market had declined as importers became more cautious and worried that tightened examination of imports could cost them more money and time.

Source: VNS

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