Vietnam, Australia strengthen ties to tackle illegal fishing
Efforts to combat illegal fishing in the Asia Pacific Region have received a welcome shot in the arm through a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Australia and Vietnam.
The agreement was signed by Australia’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Senator Anne Ruston, and Vietnamese Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting on food security and sustainable agriculture, held in Can Tho, Vietnam.
Australia and Vietnam have a long-standing commitment to tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, acknowledged Ruston.
“We have worked together successfully for over 10 years under the Southeast Asian Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices Including Combating IUU Fishing,” she said.
Tuan said the MOU would deepen cooperation and lay the foundation for ongoing partnership between the two governments as they address Australian and Vietnamese flag-carrying vessels engaged in IUU fishing.
“Signing of the MOU demonstrates Vietnam’s commitment to work with other countries in the region to combat IUU fishing,” Tuan said. “The associated public information campaign will also assist regional fishers to better understand international fishing rules and Vietnam will work with Australia to implement this campaign as soon as possible.”
As part of the visit, Ruston and Tuan also welcomed the start of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country study on regional fisheries policies and regulations.
Ruston said the study would help grow fisheries and the aquaculture sector to benefit local communities, while still taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the global economy.
“Fisheries and aquaculture are an important part of the Vietnamese economy, particularly to the wellbeing of local communities, and so Australia is glad to support the project with a financial contribution of AUD 257,000 (USD 204,838, EUR 171,422),” she said.