According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the implementation of measures to combat IUU fishing in Ca Mau have improved after nearly 5 years since the province was warned of the European Commission (EC)'s “yellow card”, compared to the inspection in December 2020.
However, there are still some shortcomings. Specifically, the issuance of new fishing licenses has reached only about 66%, the fishing vessel data has not been updated timely into the VNFishbase National Fisheries Database, the data on fishing vessels equipped with vessel monitoring system (VMS) on the provincial Fishing Vessel Monitoring System and reports have not been clear.
Additionally, the situation of fishing vessels with VMS losing connection while conducting fishing activities still occurs. Some VMS have been removed from one vessel and installed on another to avoid being tracked and supervised of the functional forces in order to perform IUU fishing.
The proportion of fishing output of vessels monitored for traceability is still low and has not met the regulations (estimated at about 38% of the total fishing output of the province). The private fishing ports have been put into operation but have neither been announced according to regulations nor monitored fishing output from loading and unloading activities via the ports.
Ca Mau has increased the level of sanctions against IUU fishing, which, on the other hand, is still inadequate to the violations.
Particularly, the province has not completely prevented the local fishing vessels from fishing in foreign waters. Since early 2020, eight local vessels have been seized and handled by foreign countries, in which there are cases of deliberately using fake foreign number plates to commit violations.
The MARD therefore has proposed that the Chairman of the People's Committee of Ca Mau Province direct the authorities at all levels, relevant departments and organizations in the locality to urgently overcome shortcomings and limitations in combating IUU fishing.
Specifically, the province is asked to urgently review and issue fishing licenses and food safety certificates to fishing vessels; register and completely handle the remaining fishing vessels that have not yet been installed with VMS; closely monitor and ensure that fishing vessels must maintain the operation of VMS while fishing at sea.
In particular, the province needs to resolutely deal with cases of vessels illegally fishing in foreign waters, or those that have been involved in the use of fake number plates to intentionally violate. The locality is also requested to synchronously deploy solutions to prevent local fishing vessels from continuing to violate illegal fishing in foreign waters.
Additionally, it is important to strengthen coordination between functional forces of the province and of other localities while effectively implementing solutions to monitor and manage fishing vessels from other provinces that are regularly operated in the provincial area.
Other measures include announcing the opening of fishing ports in accordance with the Law on Fisheries, resolutely handling fishing ports that are not qualified to operate and fishing vessels unloading products at places that are not in accordance with regulations.
Ca Mau Province needs to continue providing professional training for officials performing the tasks of inspecting and controlling fishing vessels that enter and depart the port, monitoring the output of seafood unloading through the ports and handling illegal fishing activities.
At the same time, the locality is requested to strictly implement the regulations on control of fishing vessels in and out of the port, supervision of seafood output unloaded through the ports, certifications of raw materials, certifications of the origin of seafood.
The MARD also proposed that Ca Mau Province conduct a cross-check, compare VMS data with the capture log, strengthen the application of information technology and build a database on electronic software for easier management.
With a coastline of 254km and three sides bordering sea, Ca Mau Province has large offshore fishing advantages and potential.
In total, it has about 5,000 fishing boats, most of them involved in near shore fishing.
The province has recorded a seafood catch of 77,000 tonnes so far this year, reaching 33.5 percent of its annual target, according to the department.
Recently, the province has completed the installation of black boxes to monitor fishing activities of all 1,529 off-shore fishing boats.
All boats, 15m long and above, are required to keep the monitoring device active during their fishing trips.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development sees the device as an important solution to manage the fishing boats directly and continuously.
It is also an important solution to prevent IUU fishing activities, the department says.
Translated by Phuong Ha
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