Global Policy Journal: Vietnam may become model of anti-IUU fishing
Updated : Friday, May 11, 2018 8:38 AM (GMT+0700)

TheUS’s Global Policy Journal websitehas said Vietnam may become a model for ASEAN countries in fighting illegal,unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Illustrative image - Source: VNA

An article published by thewebsite on May 9 said the threat of a bad report card from the European Union(EU) has alarmed more than 30,000 Vietnamese commercial trawlers.

It quoted Tony Long, formerDirector of the World Wildlife Fund’s European Policy Office and senior fellowof the Global Government Institute, as saying that the EU carding system todrive out illegal fishing is showing it has teeth, adding that countries areterrified that the ultimate sanction, the red card, imposes potentiallyenormous financial sanctions and significant risks.

The article said, citingsource as the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP),that fishing is a cornerstone of Vietnam’s economy and since 2006, the nationhas been globally ranked among the top 10 exporting countries infisheries. 

Vietnam’s export of fisheryproducts to the EU and the US range between 1.9 and 2.2 billion USD, and 350 –400 million USD, respectively.

The article said Vietnam’sMinistry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Directorate of Fisheriesand VASEP have mandated that all of them take actions to balance fishingcapacity and fishing fleet policy. The new Fisheries Law has been approved bythe National Assembly, including regulations to fight IUU.

Prime Minister Nguyen XuanPhuc issued a national action plan to crack down on IUU fishing.  As partof this drive, 62 seafood companies have joined to ensure sustainablepractices.

The government has issuedseveral decrees and directives, supplemented IUU fishing regulations to legaldocuments, enforced regulations, held educational workshops for fishermen,enhanced cooperation with coastal and island countries to prevent IUU fishingand organized regular dialogues with the EU on efforts to improve fisheriesmanagement.

Vietnam’s responses alsoinclude placing observers, many of whom are former fishing captains, aboardcommercial trawlers to monitor catches.

Additionally, fishingcaptains have been encouraged to keep an accurate logbook or registry ofcatches for inspection or become subject to fines up to 2,000 USD andrevocation of commercial fishing licenses.

The article said Hanoi simply does not want to repeat Thailand’s mistakes,where a high percentage of the fishing fleet is unregistered and outsidegovernment control. Neither does it want to follow its neighbour, Cambodia, andbe at the end of the line with a red card from the EU and unable to exportfish.

The article said theVietnamese Directorate of Fisheries has developed a national fishery databasethat integrates data related to fishing vessels including registration,licensing, logbook entries and now uniformly-accepted software (VNFISHBASE)utilised in eight coastal provinces.

It added that there is aneed for more vocational centres to educate fishermen about fishing regulations.

According to the Food andAgriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), between 11 and 26 milliontonnes of fish, or 15 percent of the world catch, are caught illegally everyyear. As the world’s biggest fish importer, the EU does not wish to be complicitin these unsustainable fishing practices. 

Since 2012, the EUCommission has initiated formal dialogues with several countries, thus the“yellow card” status warning. When significant progress is observed, thecommission can end the dialogue or raise the status to a “green card”. Whenthere is no or little compliance, it results in a failing grade - a “red card”,which translates into no exports.


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