Localities need to prepare scenarios when the EU checks IUU "yellow card" removal

VCN - The working team of the European Commission (EC) will inspect the removal of the "yellow card" warning against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Vietnam from October 19 to 28.
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Localities need to prepare scenarios when the EU checks IUU
IUU's "Yellow card" warning increases customs clearance time for seafood shipments exported to the EU market. Photo: Internet

Concerning the expectations about the results of this inspection in removing the IUU "yellow card", Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said that it took nine months for the EC to remove the "yellow card" for the Philippines and three years for Thailand. On the other hand, Vietnam has been applying the "yellow card" warning for five years.

However, Thailand has 18,000 fishing ships, while Vietnam's fishing industry is private. Although the infrastructure system for the industry has been upgraded, it has not yet met the requirements.

Therefore, it is necessary to raise the awareness among fishermen so that they understand that removing the IUU "yellow card" brings many benefits to the industry and fishermen.

"For example, before Vietnam was warned of a "yellow card" in October 2017, the customs clearance time for export seafood shipments only took two or three days. Currently, it takes from two to three days. In addition, 100% of the consignments must be checked when they arrive at the port," said Deputy Minister.

According to Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien, when the EC's officials come to work, Vietnam must prepare scenarios to avoid confusion. Localities need to clarify the actual operation and results of the IUU "yellow card" removal.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development requested that localities follow the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's directive documents and review all documents and evidence related to combating IUU fishing to provide and report to the EC. Furthermore, all departments, ministries, branches and localities must drastically perform in the peak month against IUU and maintain performance until the IUU "yellow card" is removed", the Deputy Minister said.

Regarding achievements in implementing solutions to remove the EC's warning, Mr Phung Duc Tien said that in the past five years, Vietnam had made efforts to perfect the legal framework. For example, the Law on Fisheries 2017 was developed and completed in a short time. Legal documents have been relatively completed based on the EC's consultation.

However, during the implementation of the EC's recommendations to remove the IUU "yellow card", there are still some major problems.

Firstly, fleet management. The ship is the centre of the industry. Although Vietnam has painted colour up to 95% of ships and installed cruise control equipment for over 96% of fishing ships, the remaining vessels should be inspected if they are at high risk of violation.

Regarding the operation of fishing vessels, although there is a cruise control device, the ship must turn on for regular monitoring. Currently, some fishermen disconnect when they go to sea. Therefore, the fisherman and the cruise control device providers must be checked to handle them.

For fishing log records, although the MARD's working team has inspected and reviewed fishing vessels in each fishing port, the log records have not yet met the requirements. Shortly, the fishing log record will be regulated in a more specific manner. When ship owners dock, they must immediately submit complete and accurate information so that seafood exports will be sustainable.

Some provinces have strictly handled administrative violations such Kien Giang and Ca Mau. However, some provinces only make a report but do not find them. This may lead to the situation that strictly fined ships will shift to another locality. Therefore, administrative violations must be handled strictly in all provinces.

"Currently, some fishing vessels violate in the foreign sea. Shortly, we must terminate this situation as our commitments to the EC. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has assigned the Directorate of Fisheries to review the violated ships to handle them strictly. The ministry also requested the Directorate to connect information from the Information Center of the Directorate of Fisheries with fishing ports and fleets for tighter management," said Tien.

On October 23, 2017, the EC warned of a "yellow card" for IUU fishing and made nine recommendations that Vietnam should take to combat IUU fishing ad remove the "yellow card". To check the results of the implementation of the recommendations, the EC implemented two inspections in Vietnam in May 2018 and November 2019 and gave 4 groups of recommendations that require Vietnam to perform, including the legal framework, monitoring, inspecting and control for a fishing vessel, fleet management; certification of output and traceability for fishery products; law enforcement.

After the interruption due to Covid-19, from October 19 to 28, the EC's working team will check the implementation of the recommendations in Vietnam, focusing on the actual inspection at local fishing ports.

By ThanhNguyen/Hoang Loan

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