|Nguyen Quang Hung, Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries. — Photo baochinhphu.vn|
What has Vietnam done to try and have the EU Yellow Card removed regarding the charge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in foreign territorial waters?
After the European Commission’s recent inspections, particularly the most recent on-line meeting on June 30, they highly appreciated Vietnam’s strong commitment to putting an end to the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Vietnam highly appreciated the recommendation that the EC suggested to help Vietnam have its yellow card be removed. However, the EC still asked Vietnam to quickly to install a surveillance equipment to monitor the fishing routes for the remaining 20 per cent of the Vietnamese fishing boats. The EC has also asked Vietnam to monitor closely the catch volume of Vietnamese fishing boats.
The EC delegation once again confirmed that it would not lift the yellow card until all the fishing boats strictly follow the international fishing law on the high seas.
What are the main stumbling blocks preventing EC removing the yellow card?
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and officials have done their best to have the EC yellow card removed. Yet, it still remains a long battle. In the first six months of 2020, though the number of Vietnamese fishing boats encroaching the foreign territorial water reduced by 50 per cent, there were 54 cases with the involvement of 86 fishing boats were seized by foreign authorities. Among them 58 boats from Kien Giang Province; five from Ca Mau Province; seven from Ben Tre Province and six from Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
Around 80 per cent of the Vietnamese fishing boats, about 24,000 boats, have installed monitoring equipment. What’s the most serious problem is that some fishermen are not operating their monitoring equipment on all their fishing trips.
What will be the impact on Vietnam’s export of aqua products to the EC if the yellow card is not removed?
If the yellow card is not removed as quickly as possible, it will have a strong impact on Vietnam’s aqua products exported to the EC. At present, the turn-over of aqua products to the European Union is valued between US$400-450 million per year. And in the past few years, due to the yellow card, each year Vietnam’s export turnover to the European Union dropped by between US$ 10-15 million.
What should Vietnam do to have its yellow card removed?
Vietnam now has some 96,000 fishing boats, of which 31,500 of them could go to the high seas for their fishing missions.
The MARD has already developed a national fishing plan and it is already on Prime Minister’s Nguyen Xuan Phuc table waiting for his approval.
Could you tell us what are the main objectives of the fishery sector over the next few years?
A master plan of fisheries development has already been approved by the Prime Minister.
Based on the European Commission’s recommendation, the MARD has already developed a plan to regularly send inspection teams to monitor illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in all localities nationwide.
In addition, the MARD has called on all localities to develop their own plans to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in their localities.
The MARD has also committed to punishing anyone caught fishing illegally.