The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says Vietnamese fishermen have stopped illegal fishing in foreign fishing areas, begun recording their activities in voyage logs, and installed GPS, cruise tracking and monitoring devices.
The statement was made at a recent conference in HCMC to review Vietnam’s settlement of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Since the Fisheries Law and related regulations took effect at the beginning of this year, Kien Giang, one of the coastal provinces most affected by the EC’s "yellow card", has increased the use of tracking devices connected to shore stations to track fishing vessels at sea.
By the end of September, Kien Giang had more than 2,900 fishing vessels equipped with tracking devices. 92.5% of fishing vessels of 24 meters or longer have installed such a device. And fishermen's awareness of this issue has improved.
Nguyen Thanh Khiet, captain of an offshore fishing boat in Kien Giang province, said: “Vietnamese fishermen doing offshore fishing now see the importance of installing a tracking device to ensure their own safety. Whatever, wherever and whenever we do during a voyage should be recorded for later checking at the fishing port.”
The management boards of fishing ports in Kien Giang make monthly lists of fishing vessels who have submitted fishing and trading logs to the Fisheries Department in accordance with regulations.
Every boat is required to inform the board an hour before entering a port to enable the board to monitor the quality and species of the boat’s catch.
Do Xuan Vinh, Director of Ben Ca fishing port, said: “When informed, whoever is on duty will check the list of illegal fishing vessels posted on the website of the Fisheries Department. If a boat is among the violators, the boat will not be allowed to unload its catch and will face penalties at the port according to the regulations.”
Fishing businesses have made a joint effort to remove the EC yellow card. As of the end of September, more than 60 fishing companies had committed to fighting IUU fishing by purchasing seafood only from fishing vessels with a proper license, voyage logs, and certification by the fishing ports.
While much progress has been made to remove the yellow card, work remains to be done to ensure that every fisherman cooperates.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said: “Although we still have some problems, there’s no question that our legal system has been improved. Our vessel management system has improved and progress has been made in origin tracing. I strongly believe that Vietnam will soon remove the EC’s yellow card.”