Staff shortages causing problems in supervising fishing vessels: anti-IUU fishing conference hinh anh 1Offshore fishing vessels dock at Ninh Chu fishing port in Ninh Hai district, the south-central province of Ninh Thuan. (Photo: VNA)

Khanh Hoa (VNA) - A shortage of personnel has been creating problems for coastal areas in supervising fishing boats, an agricultural official told a conference on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing held recently in the south-central coastal province of Khanh Hoa.

The imposition of administrative penalties to handle fishing vessels illegally entering foreign waters has been inconsistent in localities, while there are still reports of vessels without licenses and others turning off tracking devices, Nguyen Van Chien, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the south-central province of Binh Thuan, told the gathering.

The conference was held by the Directorate of Fisheries and attended by representatives from departments of agriculture and rural development, sub-departments of fisheries, and major fishing ports in 28 coastal cities and provinces nationwide.

It shared the outcome of a visit by a European Commission (EC) delegation to Vietnam to inspect the implementation of its recommendations against IUU fishing earlier this year, and also reviewed the realisation of its recommendations.

Addressing the conference, Nguyen Quang Hung, Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, said coastal cities and provinces have made clear progress in realising the EC’s recommendations against IUU fishing after three years of effort to remove its “yellow card” warning on Vietnamese seafood.

Vietnam is focusing on enacting four recommendations put forward by the EC in November last year: revising the legal framework; increasing the monitoring, control, and surveillance of fishing activities and fishing fleets; catch certification; and legal enforcement.

The determination of localities to prevent their fishing vessels from illegally entering foreign waters is decisive in making the EC reconsider its “yellow card”, he said.

He cited the fact that Vietnam has seen sharp declines in seafood exports to the EU since receiving the “yellow card” three years ago, plunging 6 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in 2018 and 2019.

Shipments this year are forecast to total just 340 million USD, down 10 percent against 2019 year and 28 percent against 2017.

To fulfil the EC’s recommendations, the Directorate of Fisheries has expanded its international cooperation with counterparts from Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, China, and Cambodia, among others, in combating IUU fishing. This has facilitated the exchange of information on illegal fishing vessels and the establishment of hotlines.

As of November, 82.92 percent of fishing vessels with a length of 15 metres or more in Vietnam had had tracking devices installed. The country detected 274 fishing vessels more than 24 metres in length illegally encroaching upon foreign waters, and 1,348 boats losing their tracking signal for more than 10 days, both down against previous years./.