August 25, 2019 20:55

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Difficult to overcome 'yellow card'

08:31 | 26/04/2019

VCN - Representatives of the European Commission (EC) are projected to come Vietnam to check the implementation of EC recommendations on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by the end of May and early June. To achieve real changes, the removal of “yellow card” requires greater determination and efforts from central to local level.

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If problems on IUU fishing cannot be resolved, a “red card” may be applied to Vietnam.Photo: S.T.

Stressful with violating fishing boats

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, after the EC "yellow card" warning for Vietnam's fishing, the political system and society, the fishing community and enterprises have made great efforts to implement the recommendations, however,the illegal fishing of fishing boats and fishermen of countries in the South China Sea region is still increasing. In 2018, there were 85 cases per 137 ships per 1,162 fishermen, up 28 cases per 46 ships per 379 fishermen compared to 2017. From the beginning of 2019 until now, the Vietnamese fishing boats in violations of foreign waters has continued and been more complicated with 16 cases per 26 ships per 96 fishermen.

Major General Bui Trung Dung Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard assessed that the Vietnamese fishing vessels violating foreign waters for illegal fishing by with destructive tools such as net scrap, electric impulse tools was a stressful problem. Recently, Thailand held a conference on the theme of illegal fishing of countries. In particular, in Vietnam, violations of fishing boats of fishermen occur regularly in the waters of Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand. Especially, the illegal fishing of Vietnamese fishing boats in Indonesia and Malaysia is a alarm

Dung shared that "In 2017, Vietnam Coast Guard must twice received Vietnamese fishermen arrested by Indonesia for illegal fishing in this country's waters with 700 fishermen in the first time and 300 fishermen in the second time. Notably, many fishermen were recidivists. Indonesia is seriously handling acts of illegal fishing. The law enforcement agencies such as Navy and Coast Guard punish by imprisonment or boat firing. In Malaysia, some Vietnamese fishermen were involved in acts of illegal fishing by this country’s fake number plate. However, Malaysia discovered and arrested many Vietnamese fishermen and vehicles. The Malaysian Government has paid great attention to this situation and reported to the National Assembly. "

Strict sanction

Chau Vice Chairman of Binh Dinh Provincial People's Committee Tran Chau said that the number of Binh Dinh fishing boats violating foreign waters has decreased significantly. In 2017, Binh Dinh had nearly 30 violations cases, but in 2018 only 22 cases and in the first quarter of 2019 only 2 fishing boats. However, the sanction is not strict. After violating foreign waters and being arrested, seafarers were supported and funded to return. "Vietnam protects the citizens too much, which makes them look down on the law. This is a form of illegal immigration. If there is no strict sanction, the violation will recur and cannot be terminated. For the violations, Vietnamese side neither spend money to compensate for the damage requested nor send people receive the violators "Chau emphasized.

Major General Bui Trung Dung stated that fishermen do not care about place of fishing, they are hired for fishing to earn money. Those who hire fishermen for fishing are punishable. It needs stricter sanction method. In the locality are the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Border Guard at the ports and local police. Offshore, there are Coast Guard and Navy forces. Violation records can be made for transfer to the police. There must be criminal sanction to contribute to the deterrence in addition to education and pursuance, "Major General Bui Trung Dung said.

Mr. Le Van Su, Vice Chairman of Ca Mau Provincial People's Committee, said that it is necessary to seriously punish the captain to ensure the deterrent measures because the captain is person who understand well the violations. However, sanctions for fishermen should be considered depending on the investigation by the competent agencies.

Mr. Su specifically emphasized the management of fishing boats and products through ports. The performance of this task by Ca Mau province and some provinces have not achieved good results. This is due to the lack of facilities and fishing port eligible for boats arriving for control. In Ca Mau, the number of eligible fishing ports is only about 20-30% of the output, the rest are to arrive other spontaneous docks. In addition, the qualifications of fishermen are restricted. "Regarding the management of fishing boats through the port, both the report and the fact showed that this task cannot be completed, the upcoming EC inspection phase will be difficult. There are problems from now until May, which can be overcome, such as infrastructure problem. The MARD is proposed to introduce immediate and long-term solutions to support the locality, "Mr. Su said.

According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, in the effort to remove the recent "yellow card", there are still inadequacies. Some localities have implemented drastically, but many others have not implemented drastically and synchronously. The sustainable exploitation have not yet developed. The coordination between units is not yet strict and has not created a breakthrough to bring efficiency for the fishery industry. "I request the provinces to seriously implement Prime Minister’s official letter 732/CĐ-TTg on preventing, minimising and stopping Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen from illegally fishing in foreign seas; the Prime Minister’s Directive 45 / CT-TTg of Prime Minister on urgent tasks and solutions to overcome EC's warnings about IUU fishing.

Regarding a Decree on sanction , the Directorate of Fisheries needs to direct and soon issue a Decree to focus on implementing the 2017 Fisheries Law, create a fundamental change for dissemination, continue coordination between the Central level and local level. The Directorate of Fisheries also needs to make a detailed plan on the content to be implemented with the EC delegation, " Cuong said.

On October 23, 2017, the European Commission (EC) gave "yellow card" warning for IUU fishing of Vietnam and made official recommendations for Vietnam to implement to improve fisheries management.

As expected by the end of May, early June 2019, the Inspectorate of General Directorate of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the EC (DG-Mare) continues to Vietnam to check the implementation of 4 groups of recommendations: The meeting includes: (1) Legal framework; (2) System to monitor, monitor and control fishing operations; (3) Law enforcement; (4) Traceability of aquatic resources from exploitation (Official Letter Ares (2018) 3356871 dated June 25, 2018).

If IUU fishing problems cannot be resolved, Vietnam will be identified as a non-cooperative country and may be subject to a "red card" measure. If the "red card" is applied, it means that all fishery products from Vietnam will be banned from exporting to the EU. However, the EU is a credit market so other markets may apply similar measure to Vietnam's fishery exports

By Thanh Nguyen/ Huyen Trang