EC reschedules fifth IUU fishing inspection in Vietnam

22/05/2024    54

The European Commission (EC) has rescheduled an inspection on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Vietnam from May to this upcoming autumn, according to Director of the Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department Nguyen Quang Hung.

The visit will take place around September-October instead of May, as previously expected.

In the interim, Vietnam will continue to take strict actions to have the EC’s 'yellow card' for local fishery products removed.

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang is also expected to chair a meeting and conduct a field visit on measures against IUU fishing in coastal areas in June.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) will also have a monthly plan for on-site inspections along the coast starting now and continuing until the EC’s visit.

Hung emphasised that the key priorities in the meantime are minimising violations committed by local fishing vessels in foreign waters and strictly enforcing regulations.

At the same time, authorities must take action for vessel management to ensure eligibility for fishing at sea, in addition to verifying fishery product origins at the ports.

“These are the key tasks and they must be radically addressed with visible results from now until September in order for us to have a chance at lifting the ‘yellow card’.

“Otherwise, it would be very difficult to report to and negotiate with the EC,” said Hung.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien also stressed that authorities must follow the EC’s four groups of recommendations for Vietnam, alongside the completion of policy frameworks, specific action plans and strengthened inspections on fishing fleets.

Authorities must also ensure that 100% of the vessels have a vessel monitoring system (VMS) installed, and that no ships are allowed to set sail without meeting all the requirements.

A digital tracing plan is also expected to be issued to prevent documentation fraud in product origin certification. Higher administrative fines will also be imposed for violations.

According to a report from the MONRE, the EC’s fourth IUU fishing inspection in Vietnam in October last year showed that positive progress had been made, but limitations and shortcomings still remain, which means the 'yellow card' warning has not been removed.

The removal of the 'yellow card' on marine products is seen as a critical and urgent task for Vietnam, as the European Union is among the top three largest export markets for Vietnamese seafood, only behind the US and China./.