Previously, on September 20, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, Head of the National Steering Committee to Combat IUU Fishing, presided over the sixth meeting of the National Steering Committee at the Government Headquarters.
After listening to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's report on the results of implementing measures to combat IUU fishing, implementing the recommendations of the European Commission (EC), further preparation and working with the EC's inspection team to conduct a physical inspection in Vietnam from October 20 to 28, 2022; Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh highly valued the Ministry of National Defense's report on the outcomes of preventing and dealing with Vietnamese fishing vessels that violated illegal fishing in foreign waters. The EC has acknowledged the work done by the relevant Central Committees, Ministries, and Branches, as well as the 28 coastal provinces and centrally-run cities, in organizing the implementation of tasks and solutions to combat IUU fishing. This work also removed the "yellow card" warning that had previously been present.
The system of legal documents on fisheries and against IUU fishing has been fully and synchronously constructed; ship control has advanced, been allocated according to quotas, and the number of fishing vessels has gradually decreased; the installation of VMS equipment has reached a high rate; patrol and control work in key sea areas has been strengthened, preventing and promptly handling many cases of fishing vessels violating illegal fishing in foreign waters; The traceability of caught seafood has initially achieved positive results, etc.
In addition to that, the implementation organization still has a lot of flaws and restrictions. It is necessary to concentrate on implementing the following immediate tasks in order to address the aforementioned deficiencies and limitations in order to remove the "Yellow Card" warning as soon as possible and to ensure good preparation for continuing and working with the EC's inspection team in October:
Chairmen of the People's Committees of coastal cities and provinces: Before October 20, 2022, immediately review and remove obstacles that are preventing the task of combating IUU fishing from being carried out and enforce the law, strictly handle violations of anti-IUU fishing regulations, manage fishing vessels operating at sea, ensure origin traceability.
Review and finalize problems in issuing fishing licenses, controlling fishing vessels entering and leaving ports, installing VMS equipment, cases of illegal fishing in foreign waters, etc. Ensure the preparation of records for monitoring, control, investigation and handling of each case according to regulations.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Organize inter-sectoral working groups with Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Defense to conduct inspections in some areas, particularly in provinces where fishing vessels violate regional laws regarding illegal fishing in foreign seas and provinces with high risk. The working will conduct a reality check to urge and guide the contents to be prepared to receive and work with the EC's inspection team; urgently develop progress reports, scenarios, and plans to continue and work with the EC's Inspection Delegation to minimize the occurrence of passive situations affecting the results of working with the EC's Inspection Delegation.
Ministry of National Defense: Directing functional forces to enforce law at sea (Naval, Border Guard, Coast Guard, Fisheries Surveillance) in September and October 2022 to continue to open a peak patrol and inspection period, control in key sea areas to prevent and promptly handle cases of violations against regulations on IUU fishing; Especially resolutely, strictly punish violations of illegal fishing in foreign waters; strengthen inspection and control of fishing vessels entering and exiting the wharf to ensure that all conditions are met as prescribed by law; resolutely sanction administrative violations in cases of violations.
Ministry of Public Security: Review and combine investigation records of acts of brokering and connecting Vietnamese fishing vessels and fishermen to illegally fish in foreign waters as soon as possible. Also, make sure the EC inspection team is safe and secure before, during, and after their time in Vietnam.
In order to make sure that IUU fishing is prohibited, central and local departments, ministries, branches, and localities urgently develop and put into action information and communication campaigns against it before, during, and after the EC inspection team visits Vietnam. Ensure Vietnam is open and truthful in its fight against IUU fishing.
In addition to implementing the above immediate tasks, there are also the following key and long-term solutions:
Heads of Central Committees, Ministries, Branches and 28 coastal provinces and cities: Understanding, organizing, and putting into practice seriously and effectively the directives of the Standing Secretariat, the Prime Minister's Directives, Dispatch, and Head of the National Steering Committee on IUU; regularly examining, supervising, and strengthening the coordination between functional agencies and units to organize the implementation.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Continue to assess, swiftly revise, complete, and complete the legal provisions on fisheries generally, and on combating IUU fishing in particular; improve the management of fishing vessels in order to gradually reduce the number of ships, the fishing force, and aquatic resources; concentrate on combining the fisheries surveillance force; strengthen law enforcement; and handle violations of the law on fisheries in the sea areas.
To take on the primary responsibility and coordinate with the Ministries of Defense, Public Security, Foreign Affairs for organizing interdisciplinary missions to cooperate with host countries to detain and handle Vietnamese fishing vessels and fishermen in order to understand the situation, and fully look into and handle instances of illegal fishing in foreign waters; tenaciously combat instances in which foreign functional forces unlawfully detain and handle Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen; continue to set up working groups to look over and oversee the application of regional anti-IUU laws, etc.
People's Committees of 28 coastal provinces and cities: Concentrate resources on synchronously implementing solutions to prevent and stop IUU fishing violations in the area; closely follow and grasp the management area and propagate and mobilize people to comply with the law, have a plan to closely monitor and manage the objects, firmly grasp the area to detect and stop ships illegally fishing in foreign waters.
At the same time, review, manage, and strictly control the local fishing fleet in accordance with regulations; strictly implement quotas for fishing licenses; complete fishing license issuance, registration, registration, marking of fishing vessels, and installation of VMS equipment in accordance with regulations; strictly adhere to regulations governing the entry and exit of fishing vessels, monitoring fishery output from fishing, and tracing the origin of aquatic products.
Close coordination among localities to monitor, control, and handle provincial fishing vessels operating in other provinces to prevent and respond to IUU fishing acts; continue to inform and propagate legal regulations to fishermen and relevant organizations and individuals to raise their awareness of law compliance and not to violate anti-IUU fishing regulations.
Le Mai (theo tongcucthuysan.gov.vn)