VASEP talks about EP fisheries committee’s IUU fact-finding tour hinh anh 1The delegation from the EP's Committee on Fisheries inspect the factory of the Binh Dinh Fishery JSC (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said a delegation from the European Parliament (EP)’s Committee on Fisheries visited Hanoi and coastal provinces from October 28 to November 2 to examine Vietnam’s efforts to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU).

The delegation led by Gabriel Mato, MEP and committee spokesperson, had high-level meeting with the Prime Minister, the Vice Chairman of the National Assembly, ministers, and officials from concerned agencies.

After the fact-finding tour, the delegation spoke highly of Vietnam’s efforts and announced this on the media in Europe.

The delegation heard about enforced measures and newly-passed laws and met with officials from the VASEP. They were provided with information about challenges and limitations facing the fisheries sector.

They hailed Vietnamese functional agencies and related fishing association for involving in discussions in an open, frank, cooperative and constructive manner. They said considerable improvements in the Law on Fisheries would surely increase the capacity of addressing and stopping IUU in Vietnam’s seas.

They visited new monitoring facilities, like the Fisheries Monitoring Centre in Hanoi and sea ports in Quy Nhon, Hai Phong and welcomed VASEP’s publication of the white book on IUU fighting in Vietnam.

They talked about the challenges facing the country, like the over-capacity operation and resources abuse of the rapidly-developing processing sector, and weak legal awareness, monitoring policy and management that let fishermen to go fishing outside the Vietnamese sea and violate foreign waters.

The delegation recognized Vietnam’s political efforts in committing to dealing with IUU issues and emphasized that the country has allocated sufficient human and finance resources for the work.

Emphasizing the importance of the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), they stressed the need to clarify the bilateral cooperation in the fight against IUU in the programme on sustainable trade development of the agreement.

They pointed out that it is important for Vietnam and the EU to continue their open dialogue so to work together in successfully addressing challenges from illegal fishing activities in the wider world.

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.

Countries that fail to meet EC standards are given a "yellow card", followed by a "green card" if the problems are resolved, or a "red card" if they are not. A red card can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.

A working delegation of the European Commission (EC)’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries made a fact-finding trip to Vietnam late May to inspect the implementation of recommendations related to the fight against IUU fishing.

EC officials will return to Vietnam in January 2019 to evaluate one more time before considering the removal of the “yellow card” on Vietnamese seafood.-VNA