Vietnam Aims to Lift “Yellow Card” Status by 2023

The Vietnamese government has been committed to enforcing laws and regulations concerning illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in order to fulfill the requirements for the European Union to remove its "yellow card" warning on the nation's fisheries sector.

Participants at the working session. Photo: VNA
Participants at the working session. Photo: VNA

A technical mission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), led by Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries (D-Fish) Nguyen Quang Hung, held a working session with the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) of the European Commission (EC) on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) on July 6-7, VNA reported.

The delegation updated the EC side on Vietnam’s progress in implementing the EC’s recommendations made by its inspection team to Vietnam in October 2022.

The two sides discussed and agreed on a number of issues related to provisions in the Decree amending Decree No. 26/2019/ND-CP on transferring quotas of fishing licenses; the use of fishing vessel monitoring system (VMS); responsibilities of suppliers of VMS installed on fishing vessels; the control of the legal origin of fishing vessels imported into Vietnam; and designated fishing ports.

They also considered the amendment of Article 70 on control under the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA), and the supplement of regulations on control of aquatic products originating from fishing activities imported into Vietnam by container ships.

The Vietnamese side informed the EC side on the pace of deploying the management of offshore fishing vessels and vessels’ movement through ports, and supervision of fishing output at ports; the implementation of the Capture Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Protection Plan; the fisheries management plan; the traceability work to ensure that shipments exported to the European market are legal; and the enforcement of law with a focus on handling vessels violating foreign waters and building a database on the handling of such violations from central to local levels.

According to Hung, the two sides have basically reached an agreement on discussed issues and the DG-MARE also agreed with the work that Vietnam has carried out.

The EC suggested that Vietnam take stronger measures to combat illegal fishing and put an end to fishing boats violating foreign waters, as well as to handle fishing vessels that lose VMS connection, he said.

The MARD and DG-MARE are scheduled to hold an online dialogue in September to continue to exchange and update the implementation of recommendations before the EC sends its inspection team to Vietnam to examine the country’s efforts on IUU fishing prevention and control in October.

Vietnam Set Goal To Remove
Offshore fishing vessels are at My Tan fishing port in the south central province of Ninh Thuan. Photo:VNA

Last week, President Vo Van Thuong received Ambassador Giorgio Aliberti, outgoing Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Vietnam, in Hanoi.

Thuong pointed out a fact that Vietnam has been serious in implementing regulations and recommendations related to IUU fishing to ensure the conditions for the EU to lift its “yellow card” warning against the nation’s fisheries sector.

The State leader hoped the bloc can recognize and fully appreciate the efforts made by the Vietnamese people and State.

In response, Aliberti the EU is working closely with Vietnam to address the IUU issue and assessed that Vietnam is moving in the right direction and has demonstrated improvement in this area.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), seafood is one of the four key export items of Vietnam’s aquaculture industry. It is estimated that on average, tuna and other seafood tuna exports bring the country a turnover of more than USD 4 billion yearly.

Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, chairwoman of VASEP’s Seafood Committee, said that seafood processing and exporting enterprises serving the European market strictly comply with regulations against IUU fishing.

Seafood processing and exporting enterprises always strive to have clear sources of raw materials. Despite difficulties in purchasing raw seafood with traceability, businesses must do so to gain a reputation and attract customers in the current fierce competition.

As the EC has imposed a “yellow card” warning on Vietnam’s seafood exports, local businesses have had to import more raw materials of clear origin from other countries for processing and export.

“Following the rules and criteria against IUU fishing is imperative for the business community. Despite a 70% drop in exports to the European market, seafood processing and exporting enterprises still have to make efforts to do well to keep the market,” said Cao Thi Kim Lan, director of Binh Dinh Seafood Joint Stock Company.

Hannah Nguyen