Fishing boats must have black boxes turned on and provincial chairman will be held responsible for the immediate solutions proposed in an attempt to improve EU’s yellow card over illegal fishing activities.
All fishing boats must have black boxes
Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Association for Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Nguyen Hoai Nam said that fishing logs were required for the fishermen to earn certificates from local state agencies and for export. But in reality, many fishermen do not submit their fishing logs, using various excuses.
According to VASEP, many boats do not turn on their black boxes to hide their fishing locations. Vietnam also lacks penalties to fishermen and traders violating regulations or a database for the current fishing boats.
During a conference about fisheries development strategy and the implementation of Law on Fisheries held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on December 15, the majority of the participants approved of the idea to force fishing boats to install and turn on the black boxes.
Khanh Hoa Province People’s Committee Vice Chairman Dao Cong Thien said, “Boats without black boxes must not be allowed to enter the ports. All crew members must be investigated and prosecuted if they illegally fish in other countries.”
There are also many shortcomings in the revised Circular 26 about inspecting and quarantine aquatic animals in order to improve the fishing industry after EU issued a yellow card.
Nguyen Xuan Nam, director of Hai Vuong Company said the authorities should also have solutions to deal with imported products that might be illegally caught.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked provincial chairman and leaders of local authorities to take responsibilities over illegally fishing cases. It will also build a database to monitor the fishing boats with the Directorate of Fisheries and coastal provinces. The revised Law on Fisheries also raised the penalty to boats that have illegal fishing activities to VND1bn (USD44,000).
On October 23, the European Commission issued a yellow card warning for Vietnam’s failure in addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The total value of EU exports and other markets like the US, where a new system to fight against illegal fishing will be implemented on January 1, may drop. All exports to EU will face longer inspection time which is more time-consuming and costly. According to the EU, Vietnam has six months to improve the situation or else it will be given a red card and banned from exporting aquaculture products to EU.
Illegal fishing activities by Vietnamese fishermen in the territorial waters of other countries have worsened in recent years, causing difficulties for exports. Statistics from Vietnam Coast Guard show that since 2015, over 1,500 Vietnamese fishing boats and 7,300 fishermen have been detained or chased away.