Deputy PM asks for stronger efforts to combat IUU fishing hinh anh 1Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung speaks at the event (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has ordered relevant ministries, sectors and authorities of 28 coastal localities to implement comprehensive measures to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by Vietnamese fishing ships in international waters in the next six months.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Steering Committee on IUU Fishing Prevention in Hanoi on December 11, Deputy PM Dung asked for closer coordination among ministries, sectors and localities to strictly follow the European Commission (EC) inspection delegation’s recommendations regarding the settlement of IUU fishing.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) was requested to accelerate the implementation of solutions, and offer advice on the revisions of the legal framework to ensure compliance with the EC’s recommendations.

Dung said MARD needs to promote the restructuring of the fisheries sector, focusing on building an aquaculture development strategy.

The Ministry of Defence will be responsible for carrying out measures to end violations and illegal fishing in foreign waters as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Public Security was asked to focus on investigating and strictly punishing relevant organisations and individuals, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will work to provide information of boundaries for offshore fishing activities.

According to the Deputy PM, after their visit to Vietnam from November 4-14 to assess the country’s efforts to implement the EC’s recommendations, the EC inspection delegation valued Vietnam’s commitment, determination and efforts to prevent IUU fishing.

However, EC inspectors also pointed out shortcomings that Vietnam needs to fix, especially fishing violations in other countries’ waters, Dung said.

He affirmed that the removal of the EC’s yellow card warning on IUU fishing is not only important for Vietnam’s seafood exports and economic development, but will also help promote the restructuring of the fisheries sector in a sustainable and modern manner, and improve the country’s reputation in the international arena.

Since the EC issued a “yellow card” warning to Vietnam two years ago, the country has fine-tuned the Law on Fisheries 2017, with two decrees and one decision from the Prime Minister, and eight circulars guiding the enforcement of the Law on Fisheries issued by MARD.

Over 31,500 fishing vessels have been equipped with tracking systems.

Since 2018, MARD has sent 20 inspection teams to show localities how to fight IUU fishing.

The Mekong Delta provinces of Binh Thuan, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Ca Mau and Kien Giang have signed a cooperation agreement in a bid to have the EC’s warning lifted.

27 out of the 28 coastal provinces have established offices to control fishing at 60 ports, and launched initiatives to preventing IUU fishing in ASEAN for the 2020 – 2025 period, as well as support the ASEAN Initiative on the establishment of an IUU fishing combat network funded by the European Union.

Authorities have also worked with six countries to verify the origins of aquatic products exported to the EU.

A list of violating fishing vessels and owners is released on the media on a weekly basis, with fines amounting to nearly 7 billion VND (304,000 USD)./.