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Seafood exporters are worried about IUU

10:31 | 29/09/2022

VCN - Some countries have increased their control over imported seafood products. Vietnam's seafood processing and export enterprises are making efforts to fulfill the partners’ requirements, overcoming concerns about illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Seafood processing enterprises strive to comply with the source of raw materials. Photo: T.H
Seafood processing enterprises strive to comply with the source of raw materials. Photo: T.H

Many countries have tight control

From December 1, 2022, Japan will apply certificates according to the IUU regulations with four aquatic species exported to this market, including squid and cuttlefish, Pacific swordfish, mackerel, and herring.

To implement these requirements well, the Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) has sent an official dispatch requesting seafood processing enterprises exporting to Japan to study the requirements for declaring caught fishery products to control the process of purchasing, receiving, and processing four aquatic species that meet the IUU regulations.

When there is a need to confirm for a shipment processed from imported materials belonging to the four aquatic species exporting to Japan, it is necessary to make a complete application file as prescribed in Clause 1, Article 12 of Circular 21/2018/TT-BNNPTNT and send it to the Regional Center for the local Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality for appraisal and certification.

Simultaneously, enterprises actively contact Japanese importers to update and fully comply with their relevant regulations and procedures when exporting the four aquatic species to this market.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), September 2022 marks the fifth anniversary of VASEP launching the Program of seafood enterprises committed to combating IUU fishing with four focus groups of actions that have been continuously implemented by VASEP and seafood enterprises, including the commitment of enterprises against IUU fishing; comment on amendments to the legal framework related to fishing; communication to businesses and fishermen about regulations against IUU fishing, and communication to the world about the efforts of Vietnam's fishing industry and actively cooperate internationally to share information and propose support to overcome the IUU yellow card.

However, the efforts of the whole Vietnamese fishing industry have not been enough for the EU to consider removing the yellow card. At the end of October this year, the EU inspection delegation will visit Vietnam to inspect the implementation of IUU regulations and EU recommendations.

“The EU’s inspection results and decisions are unknown. But the seafood export industry since the beginning of the year has struggled because of the lack of raw materials for processing, and high input costs, now it is more difficult in the Japanese market, plus the regulations of the US market,” said Le Hang, Deputy Director of Training Center of VASEP.

Faced with the above reality, in order for the export of exploited seafood to not stagnate, experts said that it is urgent to change from the local level upwards, so that the certification process for caught seafood must be simplified and applied digitally. As a result, businesses that carry out certification procedures will not be stuck or deadlocked because they are not certified.

Comply with regulations on raw materials

To manage fishing activities, protect marine resources and ecosystems, and develop Vietnam's fisheries in a sustainable and responsible manner, the Government has issued Decision No. 1077/QD-TTg approving the project "Prevention and combat of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing by 2025".

The project aims to implement synchronously, effectively, and efficiently the legal provisions on fisheries; focus on implementing regulations on prevention and combat of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing); prevent, reduce, and eliminate IUU fishing, and remove the "Yellow Card" of the European Commission (EC).

The project sets a target that 100% of aquatic products from domestic fishing when loading and unloading through fishing ports will be inspected and supervised according to the regulations; 100% of aquatic products originating from overseas arriving at Vietnam's seaports are inspected and monitored in accordance with the FAC 2009 Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA).

One of the highlights of the project is to prevent and stop the situation of Vietnamese fishing vessels and fishermen violating foreign waters and not to recur in the following years. Prevent, reduce, and eliminate IUU fishing, and remove EC "Yellow Card" warning.

Accordingly, it is necessary to deploy eight groups of tasks and solutions to implement the project, including perfecting the legal framework and mechanisms and policies; law enforcement, dealing with IUU fishing practices; traceability of seafood products; and implementation of international treaty obligations and international cooperation.

In which, strengthening inspection and control of conditions of all fishing vessels when leaving the port, especially vessels with high risk of violating IUU fishing; resolutely prevent and handle fishing vessels ineligible for participation in marine exploitation.

Law enforcement forces at sea strengthen patrols, inspections, and control over sea areas; especially in areas of overlapping, disputed and undefined waters to promptly detect, prevent, and handle Vietnamese fishing vessels violating foreign waters; resolutely fight when foreign functional forces illegally control, arrest, and handle our fishing vessels and fishermen.

Publicize fishing vessels suspected of organizing fishing activities in foreign waters; focus on investigating, strictly handling organizations and individuals that intentionally bring Vietnamese fishing vessels and fishermen to violate illegal fishing activities in foreign waters and are arrested, handled, or detected by domestic functional forces.

By Le Thu/ Ha Thanh