Small fishing boats off the coast of the central city of Da Nang (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Embassy of Australia co-hosted the second Ocean Dialogue in Hanoi on March 15, focusing on fishery cooperation in the East Sea.

The dialogue attracted more than 70 participants from representative agencies of foreign countries and Vietnamese agencies and academia. 

Guest speakers of the dialogue were Captain Martin A. Sebastian – senior research fellow of the Maritime Institute of Malaysia; Dr. Shafiah Muhibat from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore; Wang Guan from the National Institute for South China Sea Studies of China; and Dr. Vu Thanh Ca from the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands.

Opening of the dialogue, DAV Vice President Le Hai Binh said for regional countries, fishing in the East Sea brings about more than simple economic benefits. It strongly affects the socio-economic stability and survival of hundreds of millions of people living along coastal areas, he said.

However, in the face of overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and the use of destructive catching methods, countries bordering the East Sea have the responsibility to develop fisheries in a sustainable manner and protect the marine environment, Binh stressed.

He said the dialogue provided experts with a valuable opportunity to share their view and discuss ways to improve fishery cooperation in the region.

Peter Girke, Head of the KAS Office in Hanoi, contended that the fish stocks in the East Sea have been depleted at an alarming rate. He argued that cooperation must balance a variety of national interests, such as fishery, protection of the ocean’s ecology and maritime activities. 

Meanwhile, Stacey Nation, Political Counsellor of the Embassy of Australia, said that her country has a multi-facetted approach to addressing fishery issues. Australia has been working with Vietnam to foster effective fishery cooperation and will maintain its strong commitment to bilateral cooperation in the future, she added.

Speakers at the dialogue shared the view that in the East Sea at present, IUU fishing, the use of destructive fishing methods and low awareness of environmental protection are the main causes of the serious decline of fisheries resources. Therefore, countries need to comprehensively and practically cooperate with one another.-VNA