VIET NAM: Vietnamese National Assembly has passed the revised Law on Fisheries, including new features to strengthen illegal unreported unregulated (IUU) fishing fight and help the country gain the removal of the yellow card from the European Union.
The announcement was made by Deputy General Secretary of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Nguyễn Hoài Nam, who explained one of these new features is an action programme on sustainable aquatic resource development being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam News reported.
The deputy secretary pointed out that among the contents of MARD’s plan, there are five or six new elements that not only meet the ministry’s desire for sustainable development but are also identical with the European Commission’s recommendations on fighting IUU in the revision of the 2003 ViệtNam Law on Fisheries.
In an interview to Vietnam News, VASEP’s representative stressed that the EU had expressed concerns about the fishing capacity and reserve strength of Vietnamese fishing stocks, so the revised law includes a provision for reserve valuation as well as the legalisation of inspecting fisheries activities in 28 coastal cities and provinces.
“We also see that, in addition to the EU’s recommendations on legislation, there is one that coincides with the wishes of MARD, businesses and the industry as a whole: the opportunity to push for more effective legislation to facilitate international integration and ensure sustainable development of the fisheries of Việtnam,” he clarified.
In addition, Nguyễn Hoài Nam commented that one of the most important pieces of the law aims to control IUU fishing by identifying 14 behaviors considered to be violations of international fishing regulations and clear sanctions.
In this regard, he highlighted that the revised law, which is based on the principles of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, the Port State Measures Agreement by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and some international rules, ensures IUU fishing will be heavily fined.
Fishing boat owners and captains will be given the highest fines of VNĐ1 billion (USD 43,900) for violations or a fine seven times higher than the value of the illegal catch. Meanwhile, the organisations involved in IUU fishing will be fined VNĐ 2 billion. Apart from this, violators’ fishing licences will be revoked.
As part of the effort, the MARD has developed an on-going fishbase software project, which includes a database of boats, fishing ports, and all permits and registry information, which is needed to disseminate this project to fishing ports and fishermen as soon as possible.
On the other hand, the deputy secretary commented that VASEP’s action plan is divided into four areas. In the first and second areas, the agency will closely co-ordinate with MARD to disseminate information, build or revise legal documents and implement them effectively.
As for the third area, the entity will co-operate with agencies who manage seafood exploitation and IUU fishing control, such as the Vietnam Coast Guard and the Directorate of Fisheries and the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD).
And lastly, in order to strengthen their customers’ trust, they intend to publish the list of businesses committed to combat IUU fishing on their website in Vietnamese and English versions to help European authorities and management bodies know about the Vietnamese business community’s efforts in the fight against IUU fishing.