The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has urged seafood processors, importers and exporters to participate in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
This is an important step to stop Vietnamese seafood from being warned or prohibited from importing to key markets such as the European Union and the United States.
According to VASEP, Viet Nam could be fined by the EU with a "yellow card" if it does not promptly and fully adhere to EU’s requirements on fighting IUU fishing, which are related to the five recommendations made by the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE)’s working group during the reviewed period of May 15-19, 2017, in Viet Nam.
If a country is subject to a yellow card (an official EU warning), it will create nervousness among EU retailers in connection with seafood imported from that country, and they may substitute the seafood from that particular country. If the country is fined with a red card, its seafood products will be prohibited from import into the EU.
The IUU regulation applies to all vessels of EU or the third country at EU ports and all seafood products imported to or exported from EU countries. This regulation is to ensure that no illegally harvested fishery products enter the EU market.
VASEP said its members were aware of the importance of the IUU regulations and relevance for seafood businesses, and realised that the fight against IUU would be a long-term process that needed active and regular participation of seafood businesses.
VASEP members said it is necessary to set up a management board for seafood businesses to fight against IUU fishing.
EU played a leading role in the global fight against IUU fishing. The IUU regulation came into effect of October 1, 2010, aiming to ensure that only seafood products certified by the national authorised body or exporting country are imported to or exported from EU.
The list of IUU fishing vessels will be regularly updated, which are defined by the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs).
Deputy Head of the Directorate of Fisheries’ Technology Science and International Co-operation Department Nguyen Thi Trang Nhung told nonnghiep.vn newspaper that 24 countries and territories had received penalty cards under the IUU regulation, including countries and territories with modern fishing fleets, of which 13 nations had their penalty cards withdrawn thanks to improved management systems, including Ghana, Guinea, Panama and Papua New Guinea, as well as the Philippines, South Korea and Sri Lanka.
Of the remainder, three nations were given red cards -- Cambodia, Conmoros, and Saint Vincent and Grenadines -- and eight nations and territories were given yellow cards, including Siera Leone, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tuvalu.
As for the role of State management, Nhung said relevant agencies were taking urgent measures to prevent Vietnamese fishing vessels from illegally fishing in the waters of the Pacific islands. It would focus on strengthening controlling measures at ports in localities, increasing inspection and expanding the network of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) for large vessels.
“The Vietnamese agencies will strengthen co-operation on fighting IUU fishing with countries in the region and the Pacific islands and join the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Agreement on Port State Measures and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement," she said.