Illustrative image (Source: customsnews.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – A delegation of the European Commission (EC) is visiting Vietnam from May 15-24 to inspect the outcomes of the country’s measures to control illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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.

 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.

Talking to the press on issues related to the removal of the yellow card for sustainable export of aquatic products to the European market, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) along with local administrations have undertaken drastic and uniform measures to curb IUU fishing.

He noted that the National Assembly has passed the Law on Fisheries which stipulates strict sanctions against IUU practice. So far two decrees and nine circulars have been issued to guide the enforcement of the law, including one decree on administrative fines with detailed stipulations on IUU-related violations.

According to the Deputy Minister, functional agencies, including the Directorate of Fisheries and agencies under the MARD, have thoroughly studied the nine recommendations of the EC. Before the Fisheries Law 2017 took effect, the Prime Minister, the MARD and People’s Committee of provinces issued instructions and plans of actions to implement contents in the EC’s recommendations. The focus of measures undertaken by functional agencies was educational campaigns to raise the awareness of fishery management agencies, enterprises and fishermen, thus changing their behaviours in fishing, trading and use of aquatic products.

Deputy Minister Tam said the MARD and related localities are ready for the EC’s inspection, noting that the inspection will be conducted in random without prior notification.

Mentioning the installation of vessel tracking equipment on off-shore fishing ships, the Deputy Minister said the Fisheries Law has included stipulation on this issue, in line with the EU’s recommendation.

According to Tam, the installation of such equipment is being carried out under two projects, one of which using the VX-1700 equipment which combines communication function and satellite positioning under Decision 48/2010-QD-TTg. A total of 10,600 ships have been equipped with this type of equipment.

The other project, funded by Official Development Assistance capital of the French Government, uses the more modern Movimar satellite positioning equipment. So far 3,000 ships have been installed with Movimar.

However, the MARD aims to equip about 30,000 offshore fishing vessels with such equipment, Tam said, adding that the ministry also applies the method of keeping track of a group of vessels through Movimar. The country’s fishing fleet has been divided into 6,000 groups, each with between 7-10 ships. Thus the total number of installed equipment has almost covered all the offshore fishing vessels in Vietnam.