A seafood processing factory in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province (Photo: VNA)

Ba Ria-Vung Tau (VNA) – The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, along with other Vietnamese localities, is racing to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as there is only more than a month left before the deadline to show progress to the European Commission (EC) in solving the problem.

In September 2017, the EC issued a yellow card warning Vietnam for failing to progress in fighting IUU fishing. The EC also proposed nine recommendations that Vietnam should implement. The "yellow card" is followed by a "green card" if the problem is resolved or a "red card" if it isn’t. A “red card” can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.

The EU will assess Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing in April.

Tran Van Cuong, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, said localities in the province have used many different measures to raise local fishermen’s awareness while strictly punishing violating boats and fishermen. 

The department issued a written order requesting fishing and logistics boats be equipped with tracking devices. It does not license or extend the fishing license for boats without this system.

Meanwhile, boats which used to violate foreign waters must have all necessary documentation, fishing records and certificates under European standards, or they will be banned from fishing.

He added agencies have requested fishing boats at sea keep communication devices on around the clock so supervisory agencies can warn the vessels if they enter foreign seas.

Ba Ria-Vung Tau is also enhancing cooperation with regional countries so local boats and fishermen can fish in other countries’ waters.

[Vietnamese boats’ overseas illegal fishing down significantly]

In 2018, it will send seven businesses and cooperatives to negotiate with Brunei about fishing in this country’s waters, Cuong noted, adding that new regulations on fisheries development and boat building and repair will also be made.

Meanwhile, local businesses are also joining authorities in solving IUU fishing.

Huynh Minh Tuong, Deputy Director General of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Seafood Processing and Import-Export JSC (Baseafood), said Baseafood products have been exported to 40 countries and territories around the world. To ensure its prestige, the firm has carefully examined material origin through fishing records and food safety certificates before buying materials. It also only purchases imported materials with certificates of origin.

Implementing anti-IUU fishing regulations protects the prestige and interests of the company, he said.

Le Van Khang, Chairman of the Con Dao Sea Products and Import – Export JSC (Coimex), said his business had paid attention to seafood origin long before the EC issued the warning.

All of its materials are sourced from Vietnam, so to meet import markets’ requirements, all materials must have clear origin before they are delivered to Coimex’s warehouse, he noted.

Businesses commit to rejecting seafood with unclear origin firstly to protect their brand names. However, it is more important that State agencies take actions to prevent fishing boats from violating foreign waters so that the management of material origin is effective, he added.-VNA