The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has recommended that the State's budget concentrate on developing infrastructure and logistic facilities for five regional fishery centres along the Vietnamese coastline.

The five centres are located in coastal provinces of Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Kien Giang in the South, Da Nang in the Centre and Hai Phong city in the North.

The recommendation was made at an online conference between Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh and concerned localities to discuss Government Decision 67, which set goals for the development of Vietnam's fishing industry from 2015-2020.

MARD Deputy Minister Vo Van Tam said 22 cities and 28 provinces directly under the umbrella of Decision 67 had finished compiling their lists of eligible recipients for financial support to upgrade their fishing boats.

Commercial banks committed 243 billion VND (11.5 million USD) to upgrade 28 of the fishing boats with mortgage term of 11 years and disbursement rate from 60 to 95 percent.

Fishermen from 21 of the 28 coastal communes in Vietnam bought insurance policies for their boats, equipment and personal accidents with total amount up to 2,700 billion VND (127.4 million USD).

The country's effort to build a full fleet of steel-hulled fishing boats is on the right track with more than 50 percent of the planned fishing boats getting steel-hulls and 60 percent with more than 800hp.

However, a MARD report indicated that there were limitations to the programme and issues with the current policy.

A number of localities and fishermen experienced difficulty with the administrative procedures required to secure the upgrade funds for their boats.

There have been complaints by fishermen that there were so many legal documents that it made it almost impossibly difficult to follow them all.

Some localities are blamed for failing to coordinate efforts and implement supporting policies to boost the development of local fishing industries. Others said they were simply waiting to learn more about what to do before taking steps by themselves.

Issues with current credit policies also arose. Some credit policies offered interest rates at 7 percent to fishermen but involved too many administrative procedures that it discouraged many from taking advantage of the deal.

Other fishermen weren't eligible for a loan unless they agreed to upgrade their boat engines even if they only wanted the loan to purchase or upgrade fishing equipment.

The MARD made several recommendations to improve the effectiveness of policies aimed at boosting the fishing industry, like granting loans without the engine-upgrade requirement if the boat already has at least 400hp, and designing a variety of boat models more compatible with traditional fishing practices.-VNA