Vietnam needs stronger anti-IUU fishing actions or faces ‘red card’: Deputy PM hinh anh 1Deputy PM Tran Luu Quang (standing) speaks at the seventh meeting of the national steering committee for fighting IUU fishing in Hanoi on June 1. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Without stronger actions to lift the “yellow card” warning, Vietnam may face the “red card” from the European Commission (EC), which means it will be banned from exporting seafood to Europe, Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang told a meeting in Hanoi on June 1.

At the seventh meeting of the national steering committee for fighting illegal, reported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien reported that the combat against IUU fishing has recorded progress after more than five years (since October 23, 2017) of taking actions against IUU fishing and implementing the EC’s recommendations.

In their third inspection last October, the EC inspection team continued recognising and highly valuing Vietnam’s political resolve, especially the attention and drastic directions from the Permanent Member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, the Government, and the Prime Minister.

Regarding the prevention and settlement of Vietnamese fishing vessels working illegally in foreign waters, the country’s law enforcement forces have patrolled and examined the areas adjacent to other countries’ to make necessary moves. So far, they have eradicated fishing vessels’ violation of the waters of the Pacific island countries.

However, Tien said, there remains many shortcomings slow to be addressed in certain localities as found by the EC inspection team.

Such provinces as Phu Yen and Tien Giang have considerably reduced violations while some others haven’t, including Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, Ben Tre, and Kien Giang, he added.

Proposing focal tasks to be performed by October, when the EC team will return for the fourth inspection, officials called on relevant forces to implement strong measures to resolutely prevent Vietnamese vessels from fishing illegally in foreign waters, promote seafood origin tracing, control sources of imported seafood materials, especially those imported in containers, and ramp up the settlement of violations.

Deputy PM Quang applauded the relevant forces’ achievements in the IUU fishing combat but also warned about the “red card” that may lead to a ban on seafood export to Europe if stronger efforts are not made to remove the “yellow card”.

“Illegal fishing is not only narrowing export markets but also affecting the country’s image,” he said, pointing out that there is still a shortage of effective solutions, and some localities have shown lax management.

Highlighting the determination to eradicate IUU fishing as in line with the EC’s recommendations, he demanded ministries, sectors, and localities make the best use of the coming opportunity in October to have the “yellow card” removed.

The Deputy PM requested localities to pay more attention to personnel affairs, saying if leaders of a province take drastic actions, it will record differences./.