Authorised agencies inspect fishing boats in Ham Luong river of Ben Tre province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong has issued directions guiding coastal localities in intensifying measures to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Accordingly, the People’s Committees of coastal provinces and cities must accelerate the recovery of Movimar satellite geo-positioning devices installed in fishing vessels with lengths of below 24 metres for installation in those of 24 metres and above. At the same time, they should push the prompt upgrade of GPS-integrated VX-1700 satellite communication equipment on both vessels and coastal stations, and impose strict punishment on those ships which fail to operate the monitoring equipment around the clock as required.

Authorities of coastal localities and relevant agencies must further tighten the monitoring of fishing vessels’ movement through ports along with vessels’ catches and fishing itineraries, and the verification and certification of seafood origin in line with regulations. Strict fines must be imposed on violators of anti-IUU fishing regulations.

Local authorities must hold patrols in waters under their management in order to timely detect and stop IUU fishing and prevent local vessels from illegal fishing in foreign waters.

The minister also directs stronger communications work to popularise anti-IUU fishing rules across fishing ports and areas, and among fishermen. Heads of local administrations at all levels will be punished if they cannot stop local fishermen’s illegal seafood exploitation in foreign waters.

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.

A working delegation of the European Commission (EC)’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries made a fact-finding trip to Vietnam late May to inspect the implementation of recommendations related to the fight against IUU fishing.

EC officials will return to Vietnam in January 2019 to evaluate one more time before considering the removal of the “yellow card” on Vietnamese seafood.-VNA