Vietnam Looking to Achieve More Than Just Dismissal of EC’s ‘Yellow Card’

The European Commission recently took the positive step of lifting the "yellow card" warning against Vietnam's seafood industry. This decision is not just momentous in itself, but is indicative of a concerted effort to ensure that Vietnam's fishing industry takes proactive steps towards ensuring sustainable and responsible fisheries development.


Vietnam’s seafood industry is working towards removing the yellow card warning for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing imposed by the European Commission (EC). This is not only a goal for the industry, but also a step towards improving the marine environment and promoting sustainable and responsible fishing practices. Nguyen Chu Hoi, Permanent Vice Chairman of Vietnam Fishery Association, shared his thoughts on this issue in an interview with The News newspaper.

Hoi emphasized that fighting violations related to IUU fishing is a pressing and long-term issue that requires the involvement of the political system and fishermen in coastal provinces. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan’s responses during the 25th session of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee highlighted the solutions to lift the EC’s yellow card and underscored the importance of addressing IUU fishing.

Vietnam’s goal is not only to remove the EC’s yellow card, but also to build a sustainable and responsible fishing industry. This is of great concern to citizens nationwide and was a significant topic during Minister Hoan’s parliamentary question and answer sessions.

Removing EC's 'Yellow Card' Not The Only Goal of Vietnam
Nguyen Chu Hoi, Permanent Vice Chairman of Vietnam Fishery Association.

Minister Hoan’s dedication to addressing the issue of IUU fishing was commendable, according to Hoi. He expressed his belief that the minister will continue to listen to the opinions of voters and fishermen. Minister Hoan also expressed a desire to engage in a dialogue with the Vietnam Fishery Association to further discuss IUU-related issues.

Hoi pointed out the challenging nature of combating IUU fishing due to the small-scale fishing structure in Vietnam, where fishing is often passed down through generations and conducted on small boats using manual and dispersed methods. He emphasized the need to refine the 14 criteria introduced in the 2017 Fisheries Law to ensure they are legally enforceable and enhance the effectiveness of deterrence measures.

Hoi highlighted the importance of the participation of fishermen, local communities, and businesses in addressing IUU fishing. He suggested building a voluntary, self-regulating, and self-adjusting community of businesses and fishing communities, with oversight from the state, to effectively combat IUU fishing.

Removing EC's 'Yellow Card' Not The Only Goal of Vietnam
The Coast Guard talks about IUU and presents the national flag to fishermen in Tho Chau island commune, Phu Quoc (Kien Giang province). Source:

Vietnam is striving to promptly lift the EC’s yellow card through administrative measures to avoid economic losses. Hoi emphasized the need for long-term solutions and compliance with regulations to prevent re-offending. He emphasized the importance of marine conservation to preserve the ecosystem and sustain seafood resources, highlighting the impact of IUU fishing on the fishing industry and the country’s reputation on the international stage.

The EC issued a “yellow card” warning against Vietnam’s seafood industry due to IUU fishing in 2017. A “red card” could result in a ban on seafood exports to the EU. An EC delegation is scheduled to return to Vietnam for the fourth fact-finding trip in October.

Hannah Nguyen