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Striving to remove IUU "yellow card" in 2022-2023

10:32 | 15/07/2022

VCN - According to Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) Nguyen Quang Hung, the implementation of combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (against IUU fishing) towards removing the "Yellow Card" warning of the European Commission (EC) has achieved remarkable results. The goal is to strive to remove the "Yellow Card" in the period 2022-2023.

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Striving to remove IUU
Deputy Director General of Directorate of Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) Nguyen Quang Hung.

Nearly five years since the EC gave a "Yellow Card" for IUU fishing activities of Vietnam, how far have the results been achieved in overcoming the EC's recommendations, sir?

After nearly five years of implementing solutions to combat IUU fishing, removing the EC's "Yellow Card" warning, the fisheries management capacity has seen a positive change compared to before as the basic legal framework has been completed. Internalizing international regulations against IUU fishing, in particular EC Regulation 1005/2008; ensure towards building sustainable, responsible fisheries and international integration.

In addition, the organization implementing relevant provisions on anti-IUU fishing in the Fisheries Law and guiding documents on the implementation of the Law has achieved some results. Specifically, fleet management is gradually tightened, reducing the number of fishing vessels and fishing occupations affecting the fishing grounds of aquatic resources to reduce the fishing force; allocating quotas for fishing licenses according to characteristics to each locality. Furthermore, installing cruise monitoring equipment (VMS) and marking fishing vessel progress; initially exploited, operated and used the tracking system of fishing vessels to monitor and supervise fishing vessels operating at sea; basically, building a national fishery database.

The control of Vietnamese fishing vessels entering and leaving ports, controlling the seafood output through ports, certification and traceability of seafood from domestic fishing in some localities has been made in accordance with regulations; initially controlled the origin of fishery products from fishing of foreign ships docked in accordance with the provisions of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA).

In addition, the law enforcement and sanctioning of IUU fishing acts have been strengthened, and some cases of serious IUU fishing violations have been imposed with fines of up to 1 billion VND for fishing in foreign waters. The situation of fishing vessels violating countries in the region has decreased compared to before.

As well the achieved results, would you like to share more about the shortcomings and limitations in implementing tasks and solutions to combat IUU fishing, removing the "Yellow Card" warning according to the EC's recommendations?

In addition to the achieved results, there are still many shortcomings, limitations in the fight against IUU fishing and removing the "Yellow card" warning. Specifically, the legal framework is relatively complete, but the implementation process is not synchronous and consistent among localities.

In addition, the implementation of the issuance of fishing licenses according to regulations is still very low (only 50.8%). In some provinces, the rate of issuance of fishing licenses is lower than the national average such as; Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Thua Thien Hue, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Ho Chi Minh City, Tra Vinh, and Quang Ninh.

In particular, Vietnam has not prevented or stopped fishing vessels from violating seafood exploitation in foreign waters; concentrating mainly in the provinces of Kien Giang, Ca Mau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The EC side said that if this situation is not prevented and stopped, the warning "Yellow card" will not be removed.

In the current context, when do you think Vietnam can really remove the "Yellow Card" of IUU?

In May 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development submitted to the Government for consideration a scheme to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for the period 2022-2025, with a vision to 2030, to remove the "yellow card".

The scheme sets out overall issues to be solved along with a plan on resources for implementation. One of the important contents of the project is the gradual transformation of traditional fisheries management to the application of information technology. For example, a paper mining log converts to an electronic mining log; fishing vessel management is currently managing paper transfer to database system; electronic traceability. The project also raised the issue that the IUU Command Center will be built, ensuring a smooth connection between the Central Government and 28 coastal provinces as well as relevant forces, ensuring synchronization and timely coordination.

By Thanh Nguyen/ Huu Tuc