Gov't announces measures to strengthen combat against IUU
VGP – Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on November 4 signed a official telegram requesting competent authorities to undetake a range of urgent measures to accelerate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing combat.
The move demonstrates the Government's determination to remove "yellow card" warning against Vietnamese seafood exports and to develop a sustainable fisheries sector.
It has been six years since the Government deployed measures to combat IUU, there have been positive changes. However, shortcomings still remain and have been slowly fixed as concluded by a delegation of the European Commission, who came to Viet Nam to conduct the fourth round of inspection from October 10-18, 2023:
Specifically, the delegation found: (i) Vietnamese fishing vessels still infringe upon foreign waters; (ii) law enforcement is not comprehensive at local levels, violations particularly infringements upon foreign waters have been slowly been investigated and and handled; (iii) management and control of fishing vessel fleets have not been carried out in drastic manner; (iv) there are deficiencies in seafood origin tracing.
If the above problems are not resolved promptly, the country is likely to face "red card".
The European Commission plans to send the 5th inspection delegation to Viet Nam in the second quarter next year.
Given the situation, the Government chief tasked relevant ministers and Chairpersons of provincial/municipal People's Committee of coastal localties to implement the following urgent tasks and solutions:
1. Continue serious and fruitful implementation of the Dispatch No. 81-CV/TW dated March 20, 2020, directions and conclusions of the Prime Minister (particularly Decision No 81/QD-TTg dated February 13, 2023, Official Telegram No. 265/CD-TTg dated April 17, 2023, Conclusion No. 412/TB-VPCP dated October 12, 2023); directions and conclusions of the Chairman of the National Steering Committee for IUU Fishing Combat and other relevant documents; align the role and responsibility of the leaders of all administrative levels and the leaders of all competent forces with the outcomes of IUU fishing combat.
Organizations and individuals shall be strictly fined if they delibrately commit violations undermining the national interests.
2. Ensure sufficient financial and human resources to promptly fix the deficiencies related to IUU fishing combat work; seriously fine organizations and individuals who commit violations undermining the national interests and the image of the country.
3. Communication and training
Continue diverse forms of information dissemination on Viet Nam's efforts in IUU fishing combat; organize training on regulations against IUU fishing for fishermen and related organizations and individuals.
4. Legal framework, mechanisms and policies
- On the basis of the recommendations of the European Commission following the fourth round of inspection regarding the control of exploited aquatic materials imported by container ships, acts of illegally crossing maritime boundary detected through the fishing vessel monitoring system must be sanctioned while relevant regulations must be reviewed, amended and supplemented to ensure consistency and synchronization with the legal system and condicitons of our country.
- Promulgate mechanisms and policies to support fishermen who voluntarily wish not to participate in fishing activities or have fishing boats failing to meet the prescribed conditions.
5. Management of fishing fleet, monitoring, inspection and control of fishing boat operations
- Conduct general inspection and review of all fishing boats in each locality to ensure a firm grasp of the current situation (number of fishing boats, fishing boats that have or have not or expired registration, inspection, and licensing; fishing boats that have been transferred, re-sold, de-registration; fishing boats that have not installed vessel monitoring system, etc); strictly handle fishing boats with :three nos": and fishing boats not eligible to participate in fisheries exploitation.
- Directly instruct boat owners on registration, inspection, licensing procedures and update 100% of fishing boat data into the National Fisheries Database (VNFishbase).
- Monitor and supervise 100% of fishing boats operating at sea through the vessel monitoring system, fully grasp information and strictly handle each case of violation of regulations on vessel monitoring sytem connection loss (boats that do not report location every six hours, loss of connection for more than 10 days without returning to shore, loss of connection for more tha six months, one year; make a list of violated fishing boats and handle all violations.
- Ensure 100% of fishing boats with a length of 15 meters or more entering and exting ports (including private fishing ports), fishing boats entering and exiting the fishing wharf must have complete documents (registraion, inspection, licensing, marking of fishing boats), all fishing boats must install the vessel monitoring system and ensure that the vessel monitoring sytem must work continuously according to regulations.
- Manage and cotrol 100% of fishing boats from other localities operating in the province, establish a mechanism to share information between relevant localities in order to promptly prevent and handle violations,
6. Confirmation, certification and traceability of exploited aquatic products
- 100% fishing boats with a length of 15 meters and more loading and unloading aquatic products exploited at fishing boats (including private fishing ports, fishing wharfs, etc) must be monitored and traceable (card records, VMS data, yield and species composition, especially attention should be paid to cases of transshipment at sea, yield for yellowfin tuna and swordfish, etc must be closely monitored and controlled).
- Strictly comply with regulations on confirmation, certification of domestically exploited a quatic products, strictly prohbit and seriously handle cases of document cheating (if there are enough grounds for criminal prosecution); pay special attention to yellowfin tuna, bigeye, and swordfish.
- Conduct general review of enterprises exporting seafood to the European market to ensure they have sufficient and legal documents, seriously handle vioations (if there are enough grounds for criminal prosecution); pay special attention to imported batches of yellowfin tuna, bigeye, and swordfish.
- Complete and put into use the electronic traceability system to monitor and control the transparency and legality in accordance with regulations on confirmation and certification of origin of domestically exploited aquatic products.
- Control according to regulations the import shipments of exploited aquatic products for swordfish and longfin pectoral tuna by container ships.
7. Law enforcement and handling of violations
- Drastic measures must be taken to prevent fishing boats from illegal fishing in foreign waters; all violations must be investigated and handled.
- All fishing boats deliberately turning off the vessel monitoring system while fishing, or illegally crossing maritime boundaries must be identified and handled.
- All fishing boats that uninstall the vessel monitoring system and leave it on other fishing boats or fishing boats that carry the vessel monitoring system of other fishing boats must be investigated and handled completely.
- Authorities need to actively grasp information about fishing boats seized by foreign countries, collect relevant evidence and documents from other countries to provide to domestic competent forces to investigate and handle violations.
- Promptly consolidate, prosecute, and adjudicate acts of organizing illegal fishing in foreign waters.
8. International cooperation
Negotiate, sign and organize the implementation of hotlines between Viet Nam and Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines; organize interdisciplinary delegations to work with countries that hold Vietnamese fishing boats to acquire related information and handle violations.
9. Regularly inspect, examine responsibility and seriously handle organizations and indivituals that fail to perform their assigned duties; send monthly reports on the outcomes of IUU fishing combat to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for synthesis and reporting to the Prime Minister and to the Chairman of the National Steering Committee for IUU fishing combat.
10. Relevant ministries and agencies, based on their assigned functions and tasks, shall actively direct their units to coordinate in drastically implementing measures to combat IUU fishing.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – the standing agency of the National Steering Committee for IUU Fishing Combat – is assigned to monitor and supervise the implementation of this Public Telegram, and report the implementation outcomes to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang-Chairman of the National Steering Committee for IUU Fishing Combat.