The European Commission’s (EC) inspection delegation has acknowledged the recent advancements made by Việt Nam in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The inspection team from the EC Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries visited Việt Nam last month to assess the country’s efforts. Tran Dinh Luan, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries (DoF), shared the results during a press conference.
Positive Assessment and Acknowledgment of Improvements
In a letter sent to the Vietnamese Directorate of Fisheries, the EC’s inspection team recognized Việt Nam’s cooperation, transparency, and honesty in providing and exchanging information during their visit. The team acknowledged that Việt Nam has made significant progress since the first inspection in May 2018 and is on the right track in implementing the Fisheries Law and related legal documents.
Noted Improvements in Monitoring and Control
The EC inspection team highlighted the country’s notable improvements in monitoring, control, and surveillance of fishing vessels. They conducted an on-site inspection at Tắc Cậu fishing port, the busiest fish market in Kiên Giang Province, where they observed effective management processes and organization of fishing vessels and output. Việt Nam’s efforts in installing fishing vessel monitoring systems and implementing gear marking based on EC recommendations were also recognized.
Areas for Further Improvement
While acknowledging the progress, the EC pointed out some areas that require attention. These include the slow progress in installing cruise monitoring equipment on fishing vessels, incomprehensive surveillance systems with technical errors, and inconsistent sanctioning of violations among different localities. The EC also highlighted the need for competent authorities to ensure sufficient and accurate traceability mechanisms in fishery processing plants.
Yellow Card Status and Future Efforts
The EC emphasized that the yellow card will not be withdrawn unless Việt Nam addresses the issue of fishing in international waters. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien stated that the EC’s assessment evaluates not only the removal of the yellow card but also the sustainable use of fishery resources. The EC’s inspection team will return to Việt Nam for further evaluation within the next six months, and Việt Nam must submit a comprehensive report on the implementation of recommendations by May 15 next year.
Recommendations and Future Focus
The EC’s inspection team suggested that Việt Nam continue its efforts in completing the legal framework, improving law enforcement, enhancing monitoring and control of fishing vessels, ensuring seafood traceability, and obtaining fishing certifications. The team particularly praised Việt Nam’s progress in building a database of fishing vessels, updating information on fishing vessel licensing, and planning for sustainable fishing vessel development.
Strict Measures and Special Monitoring
Moving forward, the fisheries sector and localities will impose strict actions against offshore fishing vessels, especially those engaged in illegal activities. These measures aim to serve as a real deterrent for violators, and vessels on the EC’s watchlist will undergo special monitoring. Việt Nam remains committed to addressing the EC’s recommendations and further strengthening its efforts in combatting IUU fishing while promoting sustainable fisheries management.