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Feb 15, 2023 / 19:01

Vietnam aims to end overseas illegal fishing in May

The aim is to lift the yellow card imposed by the European Commission on Vietnam’s fishing industry in 2023.

The Vietnamese Government aims to stop local fishing vessels from engaging in illegal fishing in foreign waters by this May.

 Fishing vessels in a seaport in Quang Ngai. Photo: The Hanoi Times

The objective was outlined in the Government’s decision No.81 signed off by Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang on an action plan against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU).

In addition, the authorities have pledged to investigate and resolve all cases of Vietnamese fishing vessels detained by foreign countries and to impose sanctions on all Vietnamese fishing vessels involved in unauthorized fishing activities in foreign waters.

“The information related to the cases will be disseminated through the media,” noted the decision.

In this regard, the decision expected the authorities to conduct regular patrols, inspections, and controls with coordinated efforts between various parties, aimed at imposing strict penalties on all  IUU fishing activities.

Additionally, all fishing boats without vessel monitoring systems (VMS) as prescribed by regulations will be dealt with properly.

Designated fishing ports, surveillance equipment providers, and related companies and organizations will also be inspected and strictly acted against if they fail to comply with the task of combating IUU fishing.

According to the decision, the objective is to effectively and efficiently implement the Law on Fisheries, address shortcomings and limitations in compliance with recommendations by the European Commission (EC) on IUU fishing, and remove the "Yellow card" imposed by the European body by 2023.

To fulfill this task, the Government expected to gather the participation of the entire political system in preventing and controlling IUU fishing.

Heads of party committees, party organizations and administrations at all levels will lead and take responsibility for the prevention and control of IUU fishing, which is a political priority and an urgent task to eventually lift the yellow card.

Meanwhile, the Government noted a sustainable development of the fisheries sector is in the interest of the people and the country.

“This will improve Vietnam's international position, image, and responsibility in the implementation of international commitments and treaties on the protection of the marine environment and sustainable marine ecosystems,” stated the decision, adding it would also contribute to ensuring national defense and security, as well as sovereignty over seas and islands of the country.

Among the key tasks, all related agencies are responsible for reviewing and registering all local fishing boats, installing VMS equipment, and monitoring fishing vessels entering and exiting sea borders and fishing ports.

The Government stated that it would continue to develop provincial coordination regulations to control local fishermen netting fish in out-of-province waters, establishing a local Fisheries Control and ensuring the traceability of seafood caught exported to the EU and other markets. 

The decision also sets out mechanisms and policies to support fishing vessel owners in purchasing and maintaining VMS equipment.

Enhancing support for lawful fishing activities

To promote the sustainable development of the fisheries sector in long term, relevant ministries, branches, and localities are requested to work on national programs to transform the fisheries industry and create sustainable livelihoods for coastal fishing communities.

Mechanisms and policies will be developed to freeze debt and reschedule loans for owners of lawful fishing vessels who are unable to repay their debts.

In addition, the Government would continue to carry out the negotiation on the delimitation of overlapping and undefined sea areas between Vietnam and neighboring countries such as China and Malaysia.

Vietnam would implement international cooperation activities on fisheries and IUU fishing prevention and control, as well as fisheries cooperation with regional and international fisheries organizations and other countries.