Offshore fishing vessels have been told to closely follow Vietnamese and international fishing regulations to help remove the European Commission's yellow card – a warning given to nations at risk of being deemed uncooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
In a recent message, the General Department of Fisheries required vessel owners and fishermen have a valid fishing licence and fly the Vietnamese flag when they are at sea. The message also said they must protect national sovereignty and not violate fishing regulations.
“Fishing vessels outside Vietnamese waters must have codes from the International Maritime Organisation and fishing permits from the General Department of Fisheries,” the message said.
Vessels 12 metres in length or more must have a daily fishing journal, which then will be submitted to the authorities. Vessels 15 metres in length must be equipped with journey supervision equipment, which will operate continuously after leaving the port, connecting the vessel to a monitoring system for the 28 coastal provinces.
The monitoring data will be used as a basis for handing down sanctions and handling disputes at sea.
An EC delegation plans to visit Việt Nam to check the handling of the yellow card warning in October this year. During the visit, they will re-evaluate the Việt Nam’s progress in dealing with the recommendations made by the European body. The inspection will determine whether the yellow card is lifted.
If the visiting inspectors determine the country has failed to institute controls on fishing and tracing origins, it will likely get a red card warning – which would mean a complete trade ban on fishery products exported to European markets.