On September 18th, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan worked with the European Commission (EC) in Belgium. The Minister emphasized that the “yellow card” was an opportunity for Vietnam to move towards the fisheries in a direction of responsibility and sustainable development.
In the working sessions with the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) of EC, Minister Hoan affirmed that Vietnam had been always putting the combat against IUU fishing as a top priority. Also, he identified the “yellow card” as an opportunity for the fisheries industry to change from the traditional and tropically small-scale fisheries with multiple sectors and species involved into a responsible and sustainable fisheries industry.
Minister Hoan emphasized that Vietnam had made an all-out effort to tackle all recommendations by DG MARE so as to put an end to the IUU fishing and move towards a fisheries of sustainable development.
As much as 98% of Vietnam’s offshore fishing vessels have been equipped with monitoring supervision systems so far. Seafood traceability has been controlled in a chain, from harvesting, processing, to exporting. The number of vessels trespassing foreign waters has significantly decreased since 2015. The number of vessels, which trespassed foreign waters and were arrested by foreign coast guards, has reduced by 84% as compared to 2016. Minister Lê Minh Hoan stated that Vietnam had a strategy to reduce the fishing frequency, number of fishing vessels, and shift towards aquaculture.
Hoan also proposed that EC support Vietnam in the investigations into marine resources within Vietnam’s waters. EC would be highly appreciated to assist Vietnam with programs to change marine exploitation activities that affect resources and the ecological environment.
The EC’s partners highly appreciated Minister Lê Minh Hoan’s visit. DG MARE said that Vietnam’s determination on addressing the IUU yellow card and promoting a sustainable fisheries industry could be considered a model to the world. Vietnam’s legal framework for fisheries management and IUU fishing prevention fully complies with international standards.
However, there are still some shortages such as fishing vessels trespassing foreign waters, albeit at a reduced rate as compared to before. The law enforcement remains inconsistent among localities. Fishing frequency remains high, there must be a balance between marine resources and fishing efforts.
EC affirmed that they would accompany Vietnam in the development direction of sustainable fisheries and hoped that Vietnam would become a world’s model in sustainably developing the fisheries and fighting against IUU fishing.