|Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, VASEP and the Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium hold a press conference at the Seafood Expo Global on April 25 to update on Vietnam's efforts to fight IUU fishing
The April 25 event aimed to update the press and European seafood importers on measures Vietnam is taking to combat IUU fishing, a problem on which the European Commission (EC) issued a yellow card warning to Vietnam last September.
Nguyen Thi Trang Nhung, Deputy Director of the Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Vietnam has obtained positive outcomes in the issue.
The most important outcome is the Law on Fisheries, approved on November 21, 2017, which details IUU fishing activities and stipulates strict punishments compared to administrative penalties for violations in other fields.
Efforts of the whole political system of Vietnam have resulted in observable advances in the certification of seafood origin and control of fishing boats’ activities, she added.
As the yellow card could affect the prestige and trade of Vietnamese seafood in the European and global markets, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and businesses have also made every effort to cooperate with authorised agencies and with one another to fight IUU fishing over the last six months.
Le Hang, a representative of VASEP, said the association has regularly updated the list of fisheries businesses committing to IUU fishing prevention on its website in both English and Vietnamese, thus showing Vietnamese firms’ consensus and determination to EU importers and managerial agencies.
She noted that after the EU issued the yellow card warning, seafood exports to this market have declined as importers have become more cautious and worried that tightened examination of imports could take them more cost and time.
Nguyen Xuan Nam, Chairman of the board of directors of the Hai Vuong Co. Ltd, told Vietnam News Agency that the EU is a very important market and some of his company’s clients have expressed concern about the risk of a red card, which can lead to a trade ban on fishery products, after the yellow card. His company has actively informed its clients about Vietnam’s solutions to soon lift the yellow card and avoid red card.
Brian Cullinane, purchasing director at Pan Euro Foods – an Irish company that has imported Vietnamese aquatic products for five years, said the EU’s yellow card warning is a relatively new issue and almost hasn’t affected the market much, but the situation could worsen in the next two or three years if Vietnam failed to lift the yellow card.
On April 20, Vietnam submitted a report on its efforts to address IUU fishing to the EC. The EU is set to send a delegation to Vietnam between May 15 and 25 to assess local IUU fishing prevention.