EC delegation inspects Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing hinh anh 1

Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, VASEP and the Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium hold a press conference at the Seafood Expo Global on April 25 to update on Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - A working delegation of the European Commission (EC)’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries began a fact-finding trip to Vietnam on May 15 to inspect the implementation of recommendations related to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, said a local official.

The delegation will check at random the performance of the nine recommendations in Vietnam’s coastal provinces and cities, then evaluate what the country has done and whether they have met the EC’s requirements, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam.

At a working session with representatives from the Directorate of Fisheries on May 14, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong affirmed that Vietnam has been active in implementing the recommendations to ensure responsible and sustainable fisheries.

Contents mentioned in the recommendations were included in the revised Law  on fisheries, which will come into effect in 2019, Cuong added, stressing that this a great step that Vietnam has done so far, towards building sustainable and responsible fisheries industry and improving the income for local fishermen.

He affirmed departments under the MARD will work with the EC delegation in the spirit of highest responsibility, transparency and publicity, focusing on clarifying what have been done by Vietnam so that the EC can verify.

It is necessary to show achievements made by the country in the work, while listening to the EU’s suggestions, towards devising a specific action programme to overcome shortcomings in the coming time, he noted.

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 worldwide. Though the measure was considered a warning, which would not technically affect the EC trade policy, the Vietnamese fishing industry was concerned that the yellow card would seriously harm the reputation of Vietnamese seafood worldwide, thus weakening sales.

The recommendations included revision of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules applicable to the conservation and management of fisheries resources, ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of the country’s revised laws, and strengthening the effective implementation of international rules and management measures.

According to EC’s requirement, the Vietnamese seafood sector had to implement the nine recommendations in six months from October 23, 2017, to April 23, 2018.

The EC also wanted Vietnam to issue sanctions and increase the level of sanctions against IUU fishing, which should be written in the revised Law on Fisheries, and give concrete evidence proving Vietnam’s efforts in the fight against IUU fishing.

On April 20, Vietnam submitted a report on its efforts to address IUU fishing to the EC.-VNA