Processing shrimps for export (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) –Vietnam’s seafood export to the EU market is facing various difficulties, said involving companies at a conference reviewing one-year implementation of a campaign that urges local fishery firms to commit to combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The conference, held by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), which initiated the campaign, took place in Ho Chi Minh City on September 25. The campaign has to date attracted the participation of 62 firms.

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.

In the past eight months, Vietnam shipped seafood products worth 252 million USD to the EU, an annual decrease of 25 percent. The reduction led to a fall of its proportion in the country total seafood exports to 12 percent from the previous 16 – 17 percent.

A VASEP representative said toward the end of 2018, seafood exports to the EU will continue to go down, with an estimated turnover for the entire year staying at 3.2 billion USD compared to the set goal of 3.4 billion USD.

From a business angle, Cao Thi Kim Lan, director of the Binh Dinh Fishery JSC, the yellow card is impacting the company’s trade with the EU.

According to Lan, from the beginning of 2018 to date, her company’s export value to the market dropped 20 – 30 percent against the same period last year. All of the shipments were checked while importers became more demanding, hence higher costs and complications.

Lan said her company is seeking other markets for substitution but it is not an easy task. If the IUU warning is not removed, the Vietnamese fishery sector and firms will lose its opportunity to expand in the EU, and affect other markets, she added.

The VASEP campaign was among efforts made to speed up the removal. In the past year, its steering board had run various activities to make legal recommendations and suggest suitable actions to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other related agencies. The board also held fact-finding tours to examine fishery management at different localities.

According to VASEP, from now to December 2019, its programme to fight IUU fishing will continues increasing communication campaigns.

A working delegation of the European Commission (EC)’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries began a fact-finding trip to Vietnam late May to inspect the implementation of recommendations related to the fight against IUU fishing.

The European Parliament will come to Vietnam to examine the country’s efforts in October, and the inspection team will return in January, 2019 to evaluate one more time before considering the removal of the “yellow card” on Vietnamese seafood.-VNA