EC delegation inspects Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing

Tuesday, 2018-05-15 17:59:55
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Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, VASEP and the Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium hold a press conference at the Seafood Expo Global on April 25 to update on Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO/VNA - A working delegation of the European Commission (EC)’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries began a fact-finding trip to Vietnam on May 15 to inspect the implementation of recommendations related to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, said a local official.

The delegation will perform random checks on the performance of the nine recommendations in Vietnam’s coastal provinces and cities, then evaluate the country’s efforts and results and decide whether they have met the EC’s requirements, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam.

At a working session with representatives from the Directorate of Fisheries on May 14, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong affirmed that Vietnam has been active in implementing the recommendations to ensure fisheries operate in a responsible and sustainable way.

Contents mentioned in the recommendations were included in the revised Law on fisheries, which will come into effect in 2019, Cuong added, stressing that this is one of the biggest steps that Vietnam has taken so far in its efforts to build a sustainable and responsible fisheries industry and improve the incomes of local fishermen.

He affirmed that departments under the MARD will work with the EC delegation in the spirit of highest responsibility, transparency and publicity, focusing on clarifying what has been done by Vietnam so that the EC can verify the results.

It is necessary to show the achievements made by the country in this effort, while listening to the EU’s suggestions, towards devising a specific action programme to overcome shortcomings in the coming time, he noted.

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 IUU 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 could seriously harm the reputation of Vietnamese seafood worldwide, leading to weakened sales.

The recommendations included a revision of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules applicable to the conservation and management of fishery resources, ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of the country’s revised laws, and strengthening the effective implementation of international rules and management measures.

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

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

On April 20, Vietnam submitted a report to the EC documenting its efforts to address IUU fishing.