Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang on August 29 presided over a conference on solutions to fight against IUU fishing. Over the last six years, since Vietnam received a yellow card as a warning against illegal fishing, the fight against IUU fishing has recorded progress.

After a working session with DG-MARE (The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) on the recommendations of the EC’s delegation at the third inspection campaign, the EC recognized Vietnam’s efforts to fight against IUU fishing. Some solutions have been implemented, bringing good results which have been updated regularly.

However, even after the third inspection, many problems continue to exist.

To date, the registration of fishing boats has not been completed, while the granting of licenses to fish and the updating of information about fishing boats in the national fisheries database (VNFishbase) remains insufficient. 

Meanwhile, many fishing boats that still cannot satisfy requirements continue fishing activities. The installation of VMS equipment on fishing boats has been nearly completed, but the VMS disconnection has occurred in large quantity.

Fishing boats have been found fishing in the wrong areas, crossing maritime boundaries. The activities were discovered through the fishing boat supervision system. 

However, it is difficult to handle the cases when the boats dock at ports. Fishing boats not docking at designated ports still occurs, while the proportion of seafood output supervision going through ports remains low.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has estimated that if the EC gives the red card, Vietnam will be prohibited from exporting exploited seafood to the EU. This means that Vietnam would lose $500 million a year in revenue from the EU market.

VASEP emphasized that if receiving the red card, Vietnam will not only lose market share but 60 operational plants making products for export to the EU, and legal fishermen will also be affected. This will seriously impact the effort to build the nation’s fisheries.

Besides the EU, other countries such as the US and Japan have also set similar regulations on fighting illegal fishing. If the red card is imposed on Vietnam, the countries may also apply similar measures on Vietnam’s seafood exports.

Quang has instructed relevant ministries to urgently implement necessary solutions to prevent fishing boats from penetrating foreign territorial waters, strengthen propaganda campaigns against IUU and heavily punish violators. 

Tam An