Acts Considered to Be Illegal Exploitation in The United States and Vietnam (28-05-2021)

The United States is a global leader in sustainable fisheries and was an early participant in international efforts to tackle illegal, unreported, and uncontrolled (IUU) and fraudulent fishing, fraud trade, through operating programs, measures, and a legal framework to reduce fishing practices and trade in IUU fishing products that damage the marine environment and aquatic resources.
Acts Considered to Be Illegal Exploitation in The United States and Vietnam

In recent years, the United States has implemented specific programs and regulations to tackle IUU fishing, including the IUU Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Program Dolphin Safety, and the Import Fisheries Control Program, etc. As a result, the Unites States has rules that apply to both commercial and export fisheries from other countries. Subjects of application are products imported from countries identified as possible IUU fishing or exploitation affecting marine mammals.

In terms of seafood exports to the United States, Vietnam is the 6th most significant trading partner, accounting for about 7% of the market share, and the United States is still among Vietnam's top three seafood import markets. As a result, all parties must work together to promote international cooperation in the fight against illegal fishing (IUU).

The Directorate of Fisheries and the United States Department of State's Bureau of International Drug Enforcement and Enforcement (INL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2020 to improve marine law enforcement fisheries capability, fisheries management, and IUU fishing prevention.

Currently, the United States and Vietnam have identified a range of acts that are considered illegal fishing, as well as rules on how to handle violations, including:

For the United States

In relation to IUU fishing, unintentional fishing and shark conservation are codified by the United States in Acts such as: The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) of 1976; The Shark Conservation Act 2010; IUU Fishing Enforcement Act 2015; The Pacific Fisheries Access Guarantee Act; Act prohibiting trawl fishing at sea; The Marine Trawl Fishing Enforcement Act; The Marine Fishing Compliance Act; Marine Mammals Protection Act; Endangered Species Act, etc.

The US Senate, in particular, passed the IUU Anti-Coaching Act on October 22, 2015. The new law gives NOAA inspectors more power to thoroughly inspect fishing vessels accused of IUU fishing and refuse to dock in US ports.

Highlights of the new Law to Improve Protection Against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing: (1) Gives the US Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) more visa authority; (2) Establish rules and regulations for vessel license validation, vessel boarding and search, and refusal to dock, all of which will aid in the promotion of responsible and sustainable fishing by removing illegal products from the seafood supply chain; (3) Increase information exchange with foreign governments to improve capacity to track illegal foreign fishing vessels. More authorities will be able to recognise and sanction countries that do not follow fisheries management legislation as a result of increased transparency and traceability; Create civil and criminal penalties for ships that violate the convention.

As a result, the US regulates a number of common illegal fishing activities, including: (1) fishing without licenses or quotas for certain species; (2) failure to record catches or misreporting (3) catching/seizing of undersized or endangered species; (4) fishing in restricted areas or during closed seasons and the use of banned fishing gear; and (5) illegal transshipment (eg, transshipment of seafood) to cargo ships.

For Vietnam

The Actions that are considered illegal fishing are detailed in Article 60, Section 4, Chapter IV of the Law on Fisheries 2017. There are 14 groups of acts below that are considered illegal fishing acts, such as:

(1) Illegal fishing; (2) Exploiting aquatic products in restricted areas during periods of fishing prohibition; exploiting and transporting aquatic products banned from exploitation; exploiting aquatic species of smaller size than prescribed; using prohibited fishing occupations and gears; (3) Illegally exploiting aquatic species on the list of endangered, valuable, and rare aquatic species; (4) Illegal fishing in waters managed by other regional, national, and territorial fisheries management organizations; (5) harvesting of aquatic products in excess of output by species, fishing in the wrong areas, fishing past the permit's expiration date; (6) concealing, falsifying, or destroying evidence of violations of regulations relating to the exploitation and conservation of aquaculture; (7) Preventing or obstructing qualified persons from inspecting and supervising compliance with regulations governing the use and security of aquatic resources; (8) Transshipment or help for ships found to be engaged in illegal fishing, except in cases of force majeure; 9) Failure to equip or inadequately equip or operate communication and cruise monitoring equipment as required; (10) Failing to have a certificate of eligibility for food safety as prescribed; (11) Temporary import, re-export, temporary export, re-import, border-gate transfer, transit through the Vietnamese territory of aquatic products and aquatic products originating from illegal fishing; (12) Failure to write, incomplete or incorrect recording, failure to submit fishing logbook, failure to report according to regulations; (13) Using stateless or national fishing vessels of a non-member country to illegally fish in international waters under the management of the regional fisheries management organization; (14) Using fishing vessels to exploit fishery products not in accordance with regulations on exploitation and protection of aquatic resources in international waters that are not under the management of regional fisheries management organizations.

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