Evaluating Vietnam’s yellow card removal process in recent years, according to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Phung Duc Tien, since the European Commission (EC) issued a “yellow card” warning for Vietnam (October 23, 2017), after more than five years of efforts, through three inspections, the EC has confirmed that Vietnam’s yellow card removal process is on the right track, improving positively but it still not meeting the set requirements.
“Although the fight against illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing has been actively improved and is on the right track as there have been changes in facilities, management, and monitoring the fleet, handling administrative violations, tracing the origin, the shortcomings are still relatively large. In order to meet the EC’s request to remove the yellow card, there is still much work to be done,” Deputy Minister Phung Duc. Tien said.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said Decision No. 81/QD-TTg aimed to implement legal regulations synchronously and effectively on fisheries; overcome the shortcomings and limitations following the EC’s recommendation on combating IUU fishing, remove the yellow card warning in 2023, showing determination in the implementation of the 180-day plan to take action against IUU fishing, removing the yellow card when the EC process the 4th inspection in June 2023.
According to Nguyen Quang Hung, Deputy Director General of Directorate of Fisheries, Director of Vietnam Fisheries Surveillance, to remove the yellow card warning in 2023, from now until May 2023, relevant ministries, sectors and localities needed to check and make statistics on the entire number of local fishing vessels, complete 100% of the registration, marking of fishing vessels, granting fishing licenses, and installing equipment to monitor fishing vessels in accordance with regulations.
At the same time, updating 100% of fishing vessel data into the National Fisheries Database (VNFishbase); make a list of fishing vessels that are not engaged in fishing and vessels at high risk of violating IUU fishing, send them to the relevant authorities and assign specific units and individuals to monitor and manage.
Furthermore, developing regulations on coordination among localities to control 100% of provincial fishing vessels operating in areas outside the province; ensuring 100% of fishing vessels with the largest length of 15m or more must dock at the designated port, the captain must notify 1 hour in advance when docking, record and submit the fishing log as prescribed.
Besides that, competent forces will stop the activities of fishing vessels illegally fishing in foreign waters; investigate and handle 100% of cases of illegal fishing in foreign waters and announce on the mass media.
As the province with the largest number of ships in the country at 9,800 ships (accounting for 10% of the country’s ships), of which 3,805 ships are over 15 meters long, Mr. Le Quoc Anh, Vice Chairman of Kien Giang Provincial People’s Committee, said that Kien Giang also was the leading locality in terms of IUU fishing violations.
|If the “yellow card” were not removed, seafood exports to the EU would be seriously affected in the near future. Photo: Nguyễn Thanh.|
In 2022, there were 11 cases, with 17 ships and 154 fishermen arrested. Therefore, the representative of the People’s Committee of Kien Giang province suggested that central agencies should promote negotiations on maritime boundaries with a number of countries in the region. Pay attention and invest in supporting localities with seaports to build fishing ports in order to ensure the receipt of fishery output and traceability management.
According to Mr. Huynh Quoc Viet, Chairman of Ca Mau Provincial People’s Committee, so far in the province, 100% of fishing vessels with a length of 15 meters or more are operated and have been installed with vessel monitoring systems. However, there is a situation where fishing vessels installed vessel monitoring systems lost connection.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would research, propose or issue in accordance with its competence regulations on independent agencies and organizations with the function of determining the cause of vessel monitoring system (VMS) disconnection. Furthermore, the ministry will soon promulgate regulations on VMS; regulations on detecting administrative violations by professional technical equipment in the field of fisheries for handling,” Mr. Huynh Quoc Viet said.