Vietnam drastically deployed measures to combat IUU fishing (19-11-2020)

On September 19, 2020, the Government Office issued Notice 335/TB-VPCP on the conclusions of Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung at the 4th meeting of the National Steering Committee on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Vietnam drastically deployed measures to combat IUU fishing

According to the assessment, Vietnam has continued to actively coordinate with the European Commission (EC) over the past time to organize the implementation of EC recommendations on combating IUU fishing. The ministries, departments, and committees of 28 provinces and cities directly under the Central Coast have made efforts and drastically implemented measures to combat IUU fishing. Some issues have improved compared to before, such as the installation of cruise monitoring equipment (VMS) reached over 80%, the sanctioning of IUU fishing violation has been strengthened. The EC continued to recognize and appreciate Vietnam's political commitment, determination and efforts in implementing the fight against IUU fishing.

However, the EC side has assessed that some tasks are still slow, not having clear changes in the second inspection, specifically: The installation of equipment for monitoring of fishing vessels and marking fishing ships according to the prescribed roadmap has not been ensured according to the prescribed schedule; The sanctioning of violations of fishing in foreign waters is limited, not commensurate with the number of violations. Furthermore, the situation where Vietnamese fishing vessels continue to violate the fishing in foreign waters have decreased but not yet steadily and developments are complicated. In the current context, the East Sea situation still has disputes no longer in economic aspects but also related to political issues, diplomacy, and sovereignty of the islands.

To overcome these shortcomings, the Deputy Prime Minister asked relevant ministries, departments and agencies and the People's Committees of 28 provinces and cities directly under the Central Coast to focus on directing the implementation of a number of duties below:

Firstly, organizing thoroughly and drastically implement the direction of the Standing Secretariat, the Prime Minister, the National Steering Committee on IUU and the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, other ministries and sectors related to the effective implementation of EC recommendations on combating IUU fishing, in which focusing on the following contents: (1) Set out specific tasks, solutions, implementation plans, strengthen exchanges, sharing relevant information and databases, coordinating in preventing and dealing with IUU fishing behavior, promptly reporting new jobs, arising and exceeding authority for direction and coordination. (2) Continue to promote domestic and foreign communication and propaganda about the results of the implementation against IUU exploitation, ensure positive aspects, spread, and take advantage of the support of countries, individuals, and painting and promptly preventing false, negative and inaccurate information. (3) Propagate and disseminating regulations on combating IUU fishing among people and stakeholders to update information and comply with regulations. (4) Report periodically or irregularly on the results of implementation of combating IUU fishing to the MARD in order to synthesize and report to the Prime Minister according to regulations.

Secondly, solutions were implemented to prevent and stop the situation that Vietnamese fishing vessels violate fishing in foreign waters. This is a prerequisite for the EC to consider removing the "yellow card", specifically: The Ministry of National Defense strengthens patrol, inspection and control activities in boundary, overlapping, and undefined disputes between Vietnam and other countries, closely coordinating with other ministries and related agencies and 28 provinces and cities directly under the Central Coast of Vietnam to strictly inspect and control fishing vessels before exporting and landing. The vessels can not to participate in fishing activities if they do not ensure documents, papers and equipment as prescribed, especially the lack of fishing vessel cruise monitoring equipment (VMS), strictly controlling workers involved in fishing activities in accordance with the law.

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) focuses on directing the functional forces to closely follow the localities, focus on investigating and completely handling cases with signs of brokering and linking to bring Vietnamese fishing vessels to illegal fishing in foreign waters. At the same time, the MPS has to strengthen coordination and cooperation with functional agencies of countries and regions concerned in the investigation and definitive handling of cases.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has strengthen negotiations on the delimitation of exclusive economic zones between Vietnam and other countries. In the short term, partners have requested to sign a cooperation agreement on fishing in overlapping waters, have not been demarcated between the two countries to serve as a basis for ensuring security and safety for fishing activities of fishermen of the two countries, not complicating the situation when capturing and handling Vietnamese fishing vessels operating in In this area, all maritime disputes must be resolved on the basis of diplomatic negotiations between the two countries. MFA assumes the prime responsibility and coordinate with concerned agencies and functional units in resolutely fighting and ensuring the legitimate interests of Vietnamese fishermen when they are illegally arrested and handled by functional forces of other countries. Strengthen the understanding of the situation in the host country, collect information about Vietnamese fishing vessels arrested by foreign countries to exchange, proactively coordinate with domestic authorities and units to investigate and handle timely case.

Thirdly, the implementation of the Fisheries Law 2017 and its guiding documents have strengthened, especially the relevant regulations on combating IUU fishing to ensure real results. Specifically, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development continues to organize missions to inspect and urge localities to implement combat IUU fishing, inspect and supervise the implementation of the Fisheries Law 2017 and its guidance. Implementation of the Agreement on port states of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to ensure reliability in the control of aquatic products and fishery products originating from fishing. Direct and coordinate localities to implement fisheries strategies, focus on restructuring the fisheries sector towards reducing exploitation, increasing aquaculture (especially marine farming), reducing fishing intensity, thereby reducing pressure on fishing grounds, resources and labor, reducing the number of fishing vessels.

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) shall research the plan of free support for fishing vessel owners to install, operate and use fishing vessel cruise monitoring equipment under the Prime Minister's direction. MIC have to orient information and propaganda and increase the duration, content, quality of information, propaganda about Vietnam's efforts to combat IUU exploitation.

People's Committees of coastal provinces and cities complete the installation of VMS equipment, marking fishing vessels to ensure synchronous and timely monitoring and management of fishing vessel operations. Strengthening law enforcement and inspecting, examining and supervising organizations and individuals directly performing the IUU tasks.

The Deputy Prime Minister asked the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, work together with seafood exporters, coordinate with the Government to support resources to combat IUU fishing; Resolutely refuse to purchase, process and export aquatic products originating from IUU fishing. Enterprises, organizations and individuals that for their own interests abide by, tolerate, and intentionally violate IUU regulations must resolutely handle strictly according to regulations.

Lê Mai

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