Conference on deploying urgent solutions to overcome the European Commission's yellow card warning (25-04-2019)

In the afternoon of April 23, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development organized a conference to implement urgent solutions to overcome the European Commission's yellow card warning. The conference was attended by many relevant ministries, departments and agencies such as Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, etc. and representatives of the leaders of coastal provinces.
Conference on deploying urgent solutions to overcome the European Commission's yellow card warning

At the Conference, Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries, read the Report on the Implementation of Recommendations of the European Commission on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Accordingly, the Vietnamese side has finalized the legal and basic legal framework of EC recommendations into the 2017 Fisheries Law and documents guiding the 2017 Fisheries Law issued by the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; deploying the system of monitoring and supervising fishing activities; implementing law to control fishing vessels violating IUU fishing, implementing measures to manage and control origin of seafood products; conducting international cooperation on fighting IUU fishing and implementation of communication and propaganda on combating IUU fishing; at the same time inspecting the implementation of measures to prevent IUU fishing in the locality.

Up to now, the situation of Vietnamese fishing vessels violating the waters of Pacific island countries has completely ended. In addition, the inspection and control of fishing vessels operating on the sea has had many positive changes, the awareness of fishermen about illegal exploitation activities has been enhanced. However, the situation of fishing vessels violating foreign waters is still complicated, especially in some localities. Besides, fishing vessel monitoring system has not met the requirements; control of fishing vessels entering and leaving ports is limited; certification of aquatic products originating from capture still remains errors, etc.

Speaking at the Conference, representatives of some key coastal provinces have frankly presented the results achieved in the process of implementing measures to combat IUU exploitation as well as shortcomings, difficulties and obstacles, proactively propose solutions to solve those obstacles and difficulties. Many localities agreed that the reason for the situation of violations of Vietnamese fishing vessels in many foreign waters is difficult to deal with completely due to the insufficient sanctions imposed on ship owners and the captain that have fishing vessels illegally exploit in foreign waters. Currently, Vietnamese regulation has not been carried out strictly enough, many localities have not penalized or punished negligiblely. Besides, marine patrolling, inspection and control activities which are not managed by the locality have not met the requirements, so the status of IUU exploitation in coastal waters still happens. Since then, localities have asked the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to take strict forms of punishment, high deterrence, and even consider criminal handling cases of groups or individuals to take Vietnamese boats and fishermen to illegally exploit in foreign sea areas, strictly handle ship owners and captains when violating the situation, and consider handling forms of handling with fishermen working on ships.

Speaking at the conference, Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that the EC warned that “yellow card” for Vietnam seafood could be seen as an opportunity for Vietnam to continue to improve its fisheries management regime to build a responsible and sustainable fishery. According to the Minister, the key task in the coming time is to continue to organize seriously and effectively implement the Government's directing documents such as Official Order No.732, Directive No.45, 2017 Fisheries Law, and other legal documents which focus on the content related to combating IUU fishing. The Directorate of Fisheries needs to quickly finalize and submit to the Prime Minister for promulgation the Decree on sanctioning administrative violations in the Fishery Sector. It should attach importance to strengthening patrol, inspection and supervision of law enforcement; timely detect and prevent and strictly handle fishing ships and fishermen who show signs of violating foreign waters. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, relevant Ministries and localities must plan in detail for the contents of the examination conducted by the DG-Mare to examine the implementation of the EC recommendations on IUU fishing that is expected to take place at the end of May, early June 2019. Strengthening the inspection and urging the implementation of measures to prevent illegal exploitation in localities, paying attention to the sharing and coordination between localities and the law enforcement forces at sea to promptly information, grasp the situation and quickly guide when dealing with problems occurred.

Huong Tra

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