Vietnam aims to end illegal fishing in 2022

Fishing boats coming to shore in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese government is determined to completely eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing next year so the “yellow card” imposed by the European Commission can be lifted.

Vietnam was first issued a yellow card in October 2017 by the E.C., which said the Southeast Asian nation had not done enough to tackle IUU fishing.

Since its imposition, the E.U. has been conducting a review of Vietnam’s fisheries- and seafood-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, or rescinding the yellow card and resuming normal trading relations.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the E.C. was not able to send inspectors to Vietnam for the review. Instead, the two sides had regular virtual meetings to review Vietnam’s progress.

Over the past four years, Vietnam has not been able to prevent its fishermen from fishing illegally in other countries’ waters, despite certain progress, officials said at a government meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh on 13 July.

Authorities still have not been able to monitor all of the country’s fishing boats as recommended by the E.C. As of 30 June this year, 26,915 boats of more than 15 meters in length had been installed with vessel monitoring systems, accounting for 87.45 percent of the total, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture Phung Duc Tien said at the meeting.

According to deputy prime minister Thanh, the imposition of the yellow card has negatively affected the seafood sector, the living standard of local fishermen, and the image of the country. He ordered that IUU fishing must be stopped so that the E.C. may consider removing the yellow card and refrain from imposing a red card. Coastal provinces, cities, ministries and the fisheries sector must work to gradually reduce the number of violated IUU fishing boats, with a view to completely ending all violations in 2022.

Many Vietnamese fishermen have been arrested for illegally fishing in waters of other countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, despite various prevention efforts by the Vietnamese government. In October 2019, former Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung had even directed military forces to put an end to all illegal fishing activities by Vietnamese fishermen overseas by the end of 2019.  

Photo courtesy of Huy Thoai/Shutterstock


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