Remove the yellow card for Vietnamese seafood

 Remove the yellow card for Vietnamese seafood

In October 2017, the European Commission withdrew the "yellow card" to Vietnam's seafood industry. It is expected that, in October 23, the European Commission will have a fourth review of Vietnam's efforts to consider removing the yellow card.

The scene of the seminar discussing solutions to remove the EC's yellow card - Photo: D.H.

On the morning of June 10, in Phuoc Tinh commune, Long Dien district, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province,  Ho Chi Minh City Phap Luat newspaper  held a seminar "Joining hands to remove yellow cards for Vietnamese seafood". Attending the seminar were representatives of authorities at all levels, functional sectors, experts on the law of the sea, fisheries and fishermen in Ba Ria - Vung Tau province.

EC highly appreciates Vietnam's determination to remove yellow card

According to most opinions, after nearly 6 years of implementing four groups of recommendations of the European Commission (EC) for Vietnam on combating illegal fishing (IUU), there have been positive results so far. 

It is a relatively complete legal framework, the management, monitoring and supervision of Vietnam's fishing fleet has been relatively synchronous, with nearly 98% of fishing vessels over 15m in length equipped with cruise monitoring equipment. That is the matter of law enforcement, handling of administrative violations has been strictly enforced.

A corner of the fishing port where fishing boats are built in Phuoc Tinh commune, Long Dien district. Fishermen in this district are very supportive of solutions to remove the EC's yellow card - Photo: D.H.

"In 2022 and 2023, the number of seafood exports from Vietnam to Europe that are returned because they cannot prove the origin is very small, only 2-3 shipments per year", said Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung - Director of the Fisheries Control Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development - information. 

Le Tong Van, head of the Fisheries Sub-Department of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, said that up to now, the province has basically prevented fishing vessels from violating foreign waters.

Mr. Nguyen Quang Hung said that after 3 inspections in Vietnam, the EC highly appreciated the results of IUU prevention achieved by Vietnam, especially recognizing Vietnam's political determination with the involvement from the central government, local authorities and fishermen themselves.

The original solution is to switch industries

However, the comments also stated that to remove the EC's yellow card there is still much work to be done. That is 100% fishing vessels must be registered, monitored and database updated. 100% of exported aquatic products must be legally exploited. 

And from now to October 2023 - the expected time EC will go to Vietnam to monitor and inspect for the fourth time - must be resolute not to let any fishing vessels violate.

The comments also pointed out the difficulties and obstacles in the past and present still in removing the yellow card. That is, the aquatic resources in Vietnam's waters have been depleted and decreased markedly, so there are still fishermen who deliberately violate them for economic benefits, which is a thin monitoring force.

Notably, the sea area between Vietnam and Indonesia has signed an exclusive economic zone delimitation line in December 2022 but has not yet taken effect, while this is the "hottest" sea area of ​​IUU violations.

In particular, one opinion said that "it cannot be ruled out that Vietnamese fishermen, through a number of traders, make agreements with law enforcement forces of the host country to illegally fish".

Colonel Nguyen Van Thong, deputy political commissar of the Border Guard of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, said that it is not until now that Vietnamese fishermen invade foreign waters to catch, but since the 1980s. Therefore, it is necessary to have original solutions, sustainable IUU prevention. 

"The original solution to remove the yellow card is to change careers for fishermen, take care of their livelihoods. This requires the involvement of the whole political system. It's like a sustainable way to prevent IUU," Colonel Thong said.

Fishing boats lie ashore in Vung Tau city. Most fishermen also agreed to remove the yellow card. - Photo: DONG HA

Fisherman Ta Thai Son (Phuoc Tinh commune, Long Dien district, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province) also affirmed that fishermen in general all agree, support and remove the yellow card because everyone wants to sell high-priced seafood. If you want to sell at a high price, you have to export to Europe.

Former Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh gives gifts to fishermen

After the seminar, former Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh awarded scholarships to 30 students who are children of fishermen with good academic achievements - each scholarship is worth 2 million VND.

Mr. Binh also gave gifts to 200 fishermen in Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, including a battery, LED light and waterproof medicine bag worth 4 million VND, life jackets and a handbook "Things to know about fishing".

Earlier in the early morning of June 10, former Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and Chairman of the People's Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province Nguyen Van Tho went to the families of fishermen in Phuoc Tinh commune, Long Dien district with difficult circumstances to visit and give gifts.

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