Local authorities played a crucial role in Việt Nam's campaign to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and therefore must be held responsible and accountable for setbacks and violations committed in their localities, said Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng at a meeting yesterday in Hà Nội.
The meeting was held in preparation for a visit by the European Commission (EC), who will inspect the country's progress in stopping IUU fishing.
"Local agencies, especially local leaders, must be on the front line of our campaign to fight IUU fishing. Violations by organisations and individuals must be promptly dealt with," Dũng said. "Local leaders are personally accountable for IUU fishing activities under their jurisdiction and will face disciplinary action for failing to act on them."
He asked the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development (MARD) to dispatch task forces and inspectors to coastal areas to work together with local authorities to help supervise and implement measures to address the EC's recommendations for the country's IUU fishing problems.
The deputy PM stressed the need to raise awareness of IUU fishing among Vietnamese fishermen, particularly the issue of fishing in foreign countries' territorial waters.
The Vietnam People's Navy and the Vietnam Coast Guard have been charged with the task of providing fishermen with support and instruction to minimise illegal fishing in foreign waters. The Ministry of Public Security has also been instructed to conduct investigations and bring charges against organisations and individuals, foreign nationals included, who continued to break the laws.
In addition, Dũng asked MARD for faster implementation of monitoring systems to track fishing boats at sea.
The EC issued a yellow card to Việt Nam in October 2017, warning the country that the EU could ban its seafood products entirely unless effective measures were taken to halt illegal fishing. The commission has made a number of key recommendations for Việt Nam, which aim to strengthen the country's legal framework, capacity to monitor its fishing vessels and to track product origin.
Việt Nam and the EC have been collaborating to resolve IUU fishing issues. In spite of some progress made, exports of Vietnamese seafood to the EU have since been on the decline. As the country looks to increase seafood exports and develop its seafood industry, removing the EC's yellow card remains a key task for the Government.
Source: Vietnam News
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