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Mar 01, 2018 / 16:47

VASEP proposes urgent solutions to tackle IUU fishing

Vietnam needs to tackle the European Commission’s illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) yellow card next month as the EU will assess the country’s efforts to fight IUU fishing in April.

In a recent dispatch sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Directorate of Fisheries (DoF), the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) proposed that the DoF works with the association to chair a conference evaluating the implementation of activities to deal with the yellow card to help MARD and DoF leaders to solve shortcomings. 
Vietnam has so far taken many actions to tackle the IUU fishing
Vietnam has so far taken many actions to tackle the IUU fishing
The association asked the MARD to allow the participation of representatives from its IUU Steering Committee in the ministry’s working delegation to the EU and the Republic of Korea to discuss the issue. 
It will work with the DoF in translating related reports and legal documents from Vietnamese to English and vice versa, the dispatch wrote. 
According to the dispatch, VASEP members have committed to purchasing and importing seafood from legal fishing vessels with clear origin and not buying seafood of fishing vessels caught illegally by hanging banners with the commitment in front of their factories. 
VASEP suggested the MARD to send a document to localities to expand communications on the fight. 
Vietnam received a “yellow-card” from the European Commission (EC) because of its failure to meet standards over IUU fishing on October 23, 2017. 
It has been offered the opportunity to take measures to rectify the situation within six months. 
To this end, the EC has proposed an action plan for the country. The "yellow card" is followed by a "green card" if issues are resolved or a "red card" if they are not. A “red card” can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.
Vietnam has so far taken many actions to tackle the issue. Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Vietnam is in the process of implementing a new fisheries law and action programs to lift the warning on Vietnamese seafood products.
VASEP earlier this year also introduced the Whitebook on IUU in Vietnam. This publication provides an overview of the Vietnamese fisheries sector, the current regulations and practices, the impact of the “yellow card” given by the EU, and the Government of Vietnam’s long-term action plan to combat IUU exploitation, including recommendations for stakeholders in the Vietnamese seafood value chain.
According to Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, VASEP’s Vice Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer of the IUU Steering Committee, the book, consisting of five chapters in Vietnamese and English, is a collection of basic information on IUU fishing.
According to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vu Van Tam, the book is an active communication program by VASEP, not only for fishermen, but also all seafood industry stakeholders. He said he hoped there will be improvements in general perceptions and behavior towards unified undertakings in the IUU Action Program.
Besides, Tam said he wished that the European Commission would trust and acknowledge Vietnam’s efforts and soon withdraw the yellow cards placed on Vietnamese fisheries.