Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - After Vietnam received a “yellow card” from the European Commission because of its failure to meet standards against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, stakeholders are preparing a national action plan to prevent, minimise and eliminate IUU fishing by 2025.

Acting Director General of Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Ngoc Oai said at a recent press conference that the draft plan was submitted to the Prime Minister on October 10. It will be implemented as soon as it is approved.

Oai said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) had established an inter-sectoral working group to direct and co-ordinate actions to satisfy the EC’s strict regulations against IUU fishing.

Oai said the “yellow card”, which is technically considered a warning applied to seafood products exploited at sea, not to aquaculture products, and offers Vietnam the opportunity to take measures to rectify the situation within six months.

“During this time, seafood export activities will be still in place. However, there will be some impacts such as: increased inspection on imported products from Vietnam (up to 100 percent of Vietnamese exports may be inspected), leading to prolonged storage, increased cost of inspection and storage costs for Vietnamese enterprises,” said Oai.

“We will organise delegations to negotiate with EU representatives to help them further understand and acknowledge the efforts of Vietnam in implementing and responding to EU recommendations,” he added.

Oai said Vietnam would quickly complete procedures for accession to the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the FAO Port State Measures Agreement. As soon as the revised Fisheries Law is passed by the National Assembly this year, the Government will issue regulations to create a legal framework for fisheries management as required by the EU.

On the sidelines of the 14th National Assembly in Hanoi on October 26, delegate Nguyen Viet Thang from the southern province of Ben Tre said the EC’s yellow card to Vietnamese seafood had already heavily affected the country’s seafood exports as well as its reputation.

“The income of fishermen is directly affected. Therefore, to overcome the "yellow card" and avoid the status of "red card", all levels of government, from central to local, and fishermen must drastically adhere to the expectations of importing countries,” said Thang.

Seafood processing and exporting enterprises must strictly comply with these regulations as well. Fishermen need to be more self-aware in fishing, he added, and take responsibility to avoid IUU fishing.-VNA