Since 2019, the province has had no IUU violations reported, said Nguyen Tri Phuong, deputy director of Phu Yen Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).
He attributed the strong and prompt actions to combat IUU fishing to help the local fishery sector remove the yellow card warning imposed by the European Commission.
In October 2019, the provincial People’s Committee issued Decision No 1634 on the establishment of a steering committee on IUU led by the chairman of Phu Yen Provincial People’s Committee, Tran Huu The. Then, in October last year, it issued another decision on the establishment of an inter-agency working group to supervise the implementation of 2017 Fisheries Law and the fight against IUU fishing.
Dissemination campaigns to raise fishermen’s awareness on 2017 Fisheries Law and other legal documents guiding the implementation of the law have been launched on the mass media as well as at meetings held in the locality, Phuong told the Vietnam Agriculture Newspaper.
The provincial DARD has directed the fisheries sub-department to strictly implement the licensing of fishing vessels and the installation of monitoring devices on vessels in accordance with State regulations.
Vessel monitoring system’s installation is a compulsory criterion to make it qualified for granting license.
As many as 1,045 fishing vessels in the province have so far received licenses, according to the DARD. Of these, 613 licenses are granted for offshore operation.
All fishing boats with a length of 24 meters or more have been equipped with the monitoring device. 600 out of 678 vessels with a length of between 15 and 24 meters have the device installed.
In order to curb and eliminate the illegal fishing in foreign waters, Phuong said, the province has tightened the inspection of fishing vessels at ports. Vessels’ captains were asked to sign commitments not to violate other countries’ waters.
Fishery inspectors have coordinated with the border guard force to keep watch on fishing boats at sea through monitoring systems. They will notify the boat owners and captains if the vessels cross the border and remind them when the vessels return to the shore, he said.
The department also submits a list of vessels who are at risk of IUU violations to the border guard and local authorities in a joint effort to deter violations.
The provincial authorities have taken strict punishment against violators.
Thirty-two administrative violations relating to the fisheries sector have dealt with the total fine of over VND160 million (US$6,930) since 2019, he said.
According to Phuong, to remove the yellow card, the province will not neglect the compliance with EC’s recommendations, especially those on preventing fishing vessels from violating other countries’ waters, inspecting ships’ records on fishing and tracing the origin of seafood.
In the future, it will continue to pay attention to the educational campaigns to raise knowledge of vessel caption and owners on 2017 Fisheries Law and related documents.
Inspection teams will be arranged to be on duty round the clock to supervise offshore fishing vessels which are equipped with vessel monitoring systems to give them warnings if they encroach foreign waters, he said.
Agencies will also strengthen inspections of fishing vessels at ports and the quantity of seafood exploited as well as tracing the products’ origin in accordance with Circular 21 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Last year, inspectors from the local fisheries sector supervised all seafood handled through ports which estimated 15,776 tones of all kinds. 168 certificates certifying the seafood origin have been granted at the same time.
Currently fishing ports in the locality have records of all vessels activities, Phuong said, adding that the registration and licensing of fishing vessels is also integrated into the national database to facilitate their management.
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