What effect after 15 years of Vietnam-China fishery cooperation in the Gulf of Tonkin?

VCN -  A report from the Vietnamese Joint committee for Fishery shows that 15 years of the Agreement on Maritime Boundary Delimitation in the Gulf of Tonkin and the Agreement on Vietnam-China Fishery Cooperation in the Gulf of Tonkin (hereinafter referred to as the Agreement), has contributed to stabilizing security and order in the Gulf of Tonkin.
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what thereof after 15 years of vietnam china fishery cooperation in the gulf of tonkin
The conference. Photo: Nguyen Thanh

The conference to review the 15-year Agreement on Vietnam-China Fishery Cooperation in the Gulf of Tonkin took place on March 31, 2019 in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province.

Vietnamese ministries and sectors have organized effective implementation of the Agreement by coordinating education, propaganda and training for fishermen, for inspection and control forces and coordinating and developing schemes and projects to realize the Agreement.

In the joint investigation of aquatic resources in the common fishing area in the Gulf of Tonkin: The two sides agreed on the method of investigation and calculation of aquatic resource reserves and approved the outline of a general report of the project’s stages, thereby proposing measures to manage and conserve resources in the common fishing area.

Based on the survey data, the two sides agreed that aquatic resources in the common fishing area tended to decline; many species were over-exploited and it needed to gradually reduce exploitation pressure.

Regarding the operation of two countries' fishing boats: Fishing boats of Vietnamese fishermen licensed to operate in areas designated in the Agreement only account for about 17% of the total of 26,022 fishing boats with a capacity of 20 CV or more. Vietnamese fishermen's boats mainly focused on operating in Vietnamese waters. Fishing facilities of fishermen in the common fishing area were still mainly small boats, wooden cases with limited equipment.

When the Agreement first came into effect, many fishing boats did not comply with the provisions of the Agreement falling short with a lack of licensing, outdated equipment, lack of documents and qualifications and lack of fishing diary.

Between 2004 and 2009 Chinese inspection and control forces sanctioned a total of 44 Vietnamese fishing boats with a total fine of nearly VND 3 billion. Since 2009 to now, no Vietnamese fishing boats operating in the common fishing area have been sanctioned.

what thereof after 15 years of vietnam china fishery cooperation in the gulf of tonkin
China expressed its desire to continue cooperation with Vietnam in the fishing of the Gulf of Tonkin. Source: Internet

Chinese fishing boats with large capacity and modern equipment dominate Vietnamese fishing boats in fishing in the designated waters. In general, most fishing boats comply with the provisions of the Agreement and the control of Vietnamese authorities.

However, Chinese fishing boats have committed violations. Initially, fishing boats were granted fishing licenses in the approved area but they were used for smuggling and transporting temporarily imported oil for re-export from Van Gia port (Quang Ninh) to China, or for retailing petroleum in Vietnam's waters, creating complex security on the sea.

Some Chinese fishing boats with large capacity fishing in the Common Fishing Area overwhelmed fishing grounds of Vietnamese fishermen, sometimes snagging the nets of Vietnamese fishermen leading to disputes and conflicts.

In addition to the positive achievements in the implementation of the Agreement, Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung - Deputy Director of the General Department of Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) said: the remarkable shortcomings are that the aquatic resources in the Gulf of Tonkin tended to decline and were overexploited, especially some invasion and exploitation of the wrong areas, affecting fishery resources; fishing boats still committed violations of the Agreement.

“It is proposed that after terminating the Agreement each party build their own plans to further investigate and assess the aquatic resources, regenerate the resources, research to further reduce the exploitation and strengthen coordination in patrol, inspection and control of the fishing areas,” Mr. Hung said.

Mr. Vu Khang Chan - Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of China evaluated that it is not easy to achieve cooperation between Vietnam and China. China appreciated the Agreement in handling the fishing between the two countries. The Agreement has brought outstanding achievements. The two sides have jointly maintained a new order in the fisheries of the Gulf of Tonkin, urged fishermen from both sides to comply with the Agreement and control fishing boats on common fishing areas.

“In the past 15 years, although the implementation of the Agreement has been very effective, there have been some conflicts and problems. Collision is unavoidable but it is also an opportunity for the two sides to develop better. Both sides can join friendly negotiations to solve problems," Chan said.

what thereof after 15 years of vietnam china fishery cooperation in the gulf of tonkin Vietnam, China review 15-year implementation of Tonkin Gulf fishery agreement

According to Mr. Chan: "After 15 years of the Agreement, China found that in the fisheries sector between Vietnam and China cooperation would be better than non-cooperation, issuance of mechanisms is better than non-issuance and further development is better than starting development. Hopefully, the fisheries cooperation will be better and more successful.”

Under the Agreement which came into effect in 2004, the two parties set up a common fishing area of ​​33,500 km2. The duration of the common fishing area is 15 years, including 12 official years and 3 years of extension. Fishing output is based on volume determined through periodic joint investigation; Each party has the right to coordinate with a third party in fishing under its exclusive fishing zone.
By Thanh Nguyen/ Huyen Trang

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