According to observers, Vietnam has been doing a better job in gradually curbing unreported and unregulated fishing, one of the key factors affecting the adoption of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement.
|The yellow card issued by the EU is keeping the EVFTA from being ratified
Ambassador Bruno Angelet, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, told VIR, “Vietnam is taking it very seriously to curb unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by its fishermen, and we are working intensively with the Vietnamese government about this.”
“I have seen good progress in Vietnam dealing with IUU fishing. The prime minister has given strong instructions that IUU fishing must be stopped by May 28, 2018. We are also seeing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and coastal localities take strong action against IUU fishing. They are trying to solve this issue within six months, and you should not be too worried about the yellow card.”
After six months, or in late April 2018, EU experts will come to Vietnam to examine the situation. If it improves, Vietnam will be granted a green card, he added. “I believe that within one year, IUU fishing by Vietnamese fishermen will be completely curbed,” Angelet said.
In the draft EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), expected to be inked this May and adopted by EU member states later this year, there is a chapter on sustainable development which requires Vietnam and EU member states to commit to fighting IUU fishing.
Angelet said he hopes that by the time the pact is adopted, IUU fishing by Vietnamese fishermen will have been solved.
In October 2017, Vietnam was warned with a six-month “yellow card” by a European Commission (EC) decision, because the country’s fishermen continue to conduct IUU fishing, which the EC considers a key obstruction for the ratification of the EVFTA by the EU
The decision highlights shortcomings on Vietnam’s part in fighting illegal fishing, such as the lack of an effective sanctioning system to deter IUU fishing activities.
“The ‘yellow card’ is considered a warning and offers the possibility for Vietnam to take measures to rectify the situation within a reasonable timeframe,” the decision reads.
“As the world’s biggest fish importer, the EU does not wish to be complicit and accept such products into its market. The so-called ‘IUU Regulation,’ which entered into force in 2010, is the key instrument in the fight against illegal fishing, ensuring that only those fishery products that have been certified as legal can access the EU market,” the decision goes on to say.
Currently, the EU is Vietnam’s largest export market for fishery products. In 2017 the association spent $1.5 billion importing Vietnam’s fishery products, up 17.7 per cent against 2016.
However, under the impact of the EU’s decision, all of Vietnam’s sea-based exports to the EU have been subject to examination. In late April 2018, the EU will re-consider Vietnam’s efforts to curb IUU fishing. If Vietnam fails to do so successfully, it will likely get a ‘red card,’ meaning it will be banned from exporting all aquatic products to the EU.
In April 2015, Thailand got a “yellow card’ from the EU for its failure to satisfy the EU’s requirements against IUU fishing. Thailand has not corrected its course in the time since, which has kept the EU from ratifying the EU-Thailand FTA.
||Ministry takes action in response to EU’s warning of IUU fishing
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has approved a plan to implement urgent solutions in response to the European Union’s (EU’s) warning about illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
||VN vows to combat IUU fishing
After Viet Nam received a “yellow card” from the European Commission because of its failure to meet standards against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, stakeholders are preparing a national action plan to prevent, minimise and eliminate illegal, IUU fishing by 2025.
||Việt Nam assures EU on illegal, unregulated fishing
The VASEP (Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers) Marine Product Committee and Vietnamese seafood processors and exporters on September 25 promised to implement the EU’s demands on fighting IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the national action plan to combat IUU fishing.
||VASEP highlights risk of IUU fishing
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By By Nguyen Thanh