Fishermen catch tuna in Binh Dinh province (Photo: VNA)

Binh Dinh (VNA) – The south central province of Binh Dinh has taken urgent actions to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing towards meeting requirements for the removal of the European Commission (EC)’s “yellow card”.

In a recent meeting with a working group from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, vice director of the provincial agricultural department Tran Van Phuc said that the province has intensified communication campaigns to raise public awareness of the IUU fishing and the Law on Fisheries. Inspection groups have been set up to control local fishing vessels at three main fishing ports: Quy Nhon, Tam Quan and De Gi.

However, the number of illegal fishing vessels captured overseas has not shown sign of decrease yet, he said, adding that 21 fishing boats with 170 fishermen on board were detained in the first nine months of 2018.

Strict punishment have been meted out to the illegal boats, including permanent revocation of fishing license, he underlined.

According to Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Chau, as the fishing ground has been narrowed down and seafood resources depleted, local fishermen take risks to fish in foreign waters. Most of the fishing boats operate outside the province’s waters and they have not come back home for years, making it hard for local authority to manage them.

Chau ordered competent sectors to give more severe penalty to any boat encroaching and fishing illegally in foreign waters. Along with administrative fine, the province will consider criminal liability of boat owners.

The border guard force is required to supervise fishing boats, and ban unqualified vessels from going to sea.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Quang Hung urged the locality to take more drastic measures to lift EC’s “yellow-card” warning.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries will pay a working visit to the province on October 30-31 to examine the local efforts.-VNA