Vietnam reaps fruits in fighting IUU fishing hinh anh 1A delegation led by Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung inspects IUU fishing prevention in Kien Giang (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Since Vietnam received a “yellow card” warning from the European Commission (EC) in October 2017 on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the country has taken various measures to settle the problem and enjoyed positive results.

Right in November 2017, Vietnam finalized and passed the Fisheries Law, institutionalising EC’s recommendations on IUU fishing prevention.

Following the adoption of the law, a system of legal documents guiding its implementation were introduced, including two Government’s decrees, one decision by the Prime Minister and eight circulars from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Particularly, on May 20, 2019, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued Decision No. 596/QD-TTg on the establishment of the National Steering Committee on IUU fishing prevention led by Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung, with members including leaders of relevant ministries, sectors and 28 coastal localities.

Commenting on the outcomes of the measures taken, MARD Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien said that Vietnam has strived to realize four solutions suggested by the EC, including the completion of the legal framework, the installation of monitoring systems on fishing vessels to control theiroperation, law enforcement and origin tracing of aquatic products.

Tien said that so far, the country’s efforts in completing the legal system has been shown in the Fisheries Law 2017 and guiding documents, noting that all localities have been equipped with monitoring systems to supervise, check and manage fishing vessels’ operation.

Management boards of fishing ports have been active in tracing the origins of seafood, he said, adding that the MARD has classified the port system into two types to facilitate the work and included relevant storage facilities and refrigeration warehouses in its planning.

Communications activities have also been prioritised to boost fishermen’s awareness on respecting the 2017 Law on Fisheries and responsible fishing, the official noted.

According to the MARD, from the beginning of 2018, no Vietnamese ships have been found to fish illegally in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, localities have stepped up checks of fishing vessels leaving or docking at ports in line with regulations, particularly those on safety requirements. Some have even applied harsh punishments for violating vessels like revoking licences without further granting new ones. The patrol and inspection of major waters have also been effectively coordinated among law enforcement agencies at sea.

Between 2018 and now, the MARD has sent 18 working delegations at different levels to examine and direct anti-IUU activities at various localities.

Most recently, on November 17,replying to reporters’ questions related to the European Commission (EC)’s visit to Vietnam to assess the country’s efforts in implementing the EC’s recommendations on fighting IUU fishing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said officials from the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG – MARE) will work in Vietnam from November 4-14. They are scheduled to make field trips to a number of localities to check the implementation of the warning.

Over the past time, Vietnamese agencies, localities and organisations have drastically implemented solutions to build a sustainable and responsible fisheries sector, and curb the IUU fishing on the basis of the EC’s recommendations, she highlighted.

Vietnam is willing to coordinate with the EC in combating IUU fishing, the official affirmed.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Fisheries said Vietnam’s fight against the IUU has reaped noteworthy outcomes, including the legalization of international and regional regulations in the Fisheries Law 2017 and relevant instruction documents, and the improvement of awareness of fisheries management agencies at all levels, fishermen and enterprises about the importance of preventing IUU fishing.

The violation and illegally fishing by fishing vessels and fishermen in the waters of countries in the Pacific has ceased. Many provinces and cities have removed or reduced the number of fishing vessels and fishermen with illegal fishing in foreign waters.

The inspection and control of fishing vessels operating at sea and port inspections have initially made progress, while international cooperation activities in the field of fishing are promoted. Vietnam has been actively joining and implementing international treaties and conventions towards a modern, responsible and sustainable fishery./.