The VietNam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Marine Product Committee and Vietnamese seafood processors and exporters have promised to implement the EU’s demands on fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and the national action plan to combat it.
The commitment was taken in the framework of the conference called Marine product enterprises commit to combating IUU fishing held in HCM City, by Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, VASEP’s deputy chairwoman and chairwoman of the VASEP Marine Product Committee, who ensured they are committed to buying raw materials only from legal fishing vessels with clear traceability and importing only legally caught seafood, VNS reported.
“We are resolute about not buying catches sourced from fishing vessels operating without a permit, logbook or report in accordance with regulations or fishing using prohibited gear. We say no to protected species and catches smaller than the minimum size,” she pointed out.
For his part, Nguyen Hoai Nam, VASEP’s deputy secretary, said its members are aware of the importance of the IUU regulations and realise that the fight against IUU would be a long-term process that needs active and regular participation by seafood businesses.
Strictly implementing the IUU regulations is an important step in preventing Vietnamese seafood from being warned or prohibited from selling to key markets such as the EU and US, the secretary said.
Viet Nam could be penalised by the EU with a "yellow card" if it does not promptly and fully adhere to the requirements on fighting IUU fishing, which are related to the five recommendations made by a Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) working group following a review last May in Viet Nam.
Representatives of the sector in Vietnam are aware that this issue could lead EU retailers to look elsewhere to buy seafood and to other import markets will also strengthen checks of seafood exported by that country.
If the country gets a red card, its seafood products will be banned in the EU.
Sac said, “We are fully aware that it is vital for us to comply with all IUU regulations in various markets.”
In her view, this is an opportunity for official agencies, fishermen and seafood processors and exporters to take a deeper look into the issue and reorganise fishing activities in a sustainable and effective manner to emphasise the prestige of Vietnamese seafood exports.
Sac ensured that the VASEP office would set up an IUU task force that would work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Directorate of Fisheries and other State agencies to address short-term and long-term issues in the programme on combating IUU fishing.
VietNam obtains USD 1.9-2.2 billion from exports of marine products annually, with the US and EU accounting for USD 350-400 million each.