No more illegal fishing since beginning of 2018 hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source:VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - There are no longer fishing boats that have committed illegal catching since the beginning of 2018, heard a conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on May 5.

Chaired by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam, the event was to prepare for working sessions with a delegation from the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, which will visit Vietnam from May 16-23 to inspect the country’s implementation of the EC’s nine recommendations related to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Tam said after the EC issued a “yellow card” warning to Vietnam, the MARD has proposed amendments to the revised Law on Fisheries that will come into effect in 2019; and issued a circular banning illegal fishing.

Local authorities have also managed more closely offshore fishing boats and upgraded fishing ports to meet the EC’s standards, he added.

Through its planned field trip, the EC delegation will observe the time of unloading of foreign transport refrigerated ships at Vietnamese ports, and have technical working sessions with the Vietnamese side on imported seafood materials.

After the inspection, the EU will give its final decision over whether it seeks to withdraw the “yellow card” from Vietnamese offshore seafood.

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 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. 

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

The nine 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.

As the yellow card could affect the prestige and trade of Vietnamese seafood in the European and global markets, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and businesses have also made every effort to cooperate with authorised agencies and with one another to fight IUU fishing over the last six months.

The association has regularly updated the list of fisheries businesses committing to IUU fishing prevention on its website in both English and Vietnamese, thus showing Vietnamese firms’ consensus and determination to EU importers and managerial agencies.

On April 20, Vietnam submitted a report on its efforts to address IUU fishing to the EC. The delegation’s upcoming inspection is to assess local IUU fishing prevention.-VNA