The European Commission will send inspectors to Vietnam in the first quarter of 2022 to review the country’s progress in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
During the visit, the inspectors will visit ports in Vietnam’s coastal provinces and cities, and will then issue a summary of findings and recommendations for improvement, Vietnam General Department of Fisheries Deputy Director Nguyen Quang Hung told Vietnam News Agency on 30 October.
Vietnam was first issued a yellow card in October 2017 after the European Commission decided it had not done enough to halt IUU fishing within its borders. Since its imposition, the E.U. has been conducting a review of Vietnam’s fisheries-related policies to determine which route it will take out of three options available to it: maintaining the country’s yellow card status, issuing a red card banning all seafood imports from Vietnam to the E.U., or rescinding the yellow card and resuming normal trading relations.
In a virtual meeting with Vietnam’s Fisheries Department in late October, E.C. representatives said Vietnam has made progress in implementing previous recommendations encouraging the country to upgrade its regulations concerning its fleet management and tracking. However, they pointed out continued shortcomings in provincial governance, especially in the management and tracking of boats equipped with vessel monitoring systems, the management of fishing-vessel and catch movement through ports; and a lack of punishment for Vietnamese fishermen found fishing illegally in foreign waters.
In September, Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested his government’s ministries and agencies take action to end to IUU fishing by the end of 2021, with the goal of obtaining removal of the E.C.’s yellow card.
Following the prime minister’s order, Hung said his agency has asked officials from 28 coastal localities to map out their own plans for eradicating illegal fishing, with the goal of earning the removal of the yellow card by 2023.
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