Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Xuan Cuong (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam has been active in implementing nine recommendations related to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing of the European Commission (EC) to ensure responsible and sustainable fisheries, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

Cuong gave the information at a working session with representatives from the Directorate of Fisheries on May 14, which was to review achievements of the country in dealing with the EC’s "yellow card" warning to Vietnam, and to prepare for a working trip by a delegation of the EC Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, which will start on May 15, to inspect and measure efforts of Vietnam in the work.

Contents mentioned in the recommendations were included in the revised Law  on on Fisheries, which will come into effect in 2019, Cuong added, stressing that this a great step that Vietnam has done so far, towards building sustainable and responsible fisheries industry and improving the income for local fishermen, Cuong stressed.

He affirmed departments under the MARD will work with the delegation in the spirit of highest responsibility, transparency and publicity, focusing on clarifying what have been done by Vietnam so that the EC can verify.

It is necessary to show achievements made by the country in the work, while listening to the EU’s suggestions, towards devising a specific action programme to overcome shortcomings in the coming time, he noted.

Cuong also underlined the need to reassess infrastructure facilities serving sustainable fisheries development such as wharfs, fishing ports and anchorages, thus making recommendations to the Government.

Attention should also be paid to reviewing the application of high technologies and information technology in managing fishing ships and fishing grounds, in order to ensure a modern fisheries sector, he said.

According to Nguyen Ngoc Oai, acting General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, the delegation will work with representatives of the MARD and those from coastal localities, seafood producers, the MARD’s Department of Animal Health and National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department.  

The Directorate of Fisheries set up an IUU office, which will provide all relevant documents to serve the working sessions with the delegation, Oai said.

A fishery database system has been launched, he noted, adding that this is an important measure to better the management of offshore fishing activities.

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 IUU fishing worldwide. Though the measure was considered a warning, which would not technically affect the EC trade policy, the Vietnamese fishing industry was concerned that the yellow card would seriously harm the reputation of Vietnamese seafood worldwide, thus weakening sales. 

The nine recommendations included revision of the legal framework to ensure compliance with international and regional rules applicable to the conservation and management of fisheries resources, ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of the country’s revised laws, and strengthening the effective implementation of international rules and management measures.

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.

The EC also wanted Vietnam to issue sanctions and increase the level of sanctions against IUU fishing, which should be written in the revised Law on Fisheries, and give concrete evidence proving Vietnam’s efforts in the fight against IUU fishing.

On April 20, Vietnam submitted a report on its efforts to address IUU fishing to the EC. The delegation’s upcoming inspection is to assess local IUU fishing prevention.-VNA