Vietnam fishery faces hefty loss to EU restrictions

By Dat Nguyen   August 10, 2021 | 11:58 pm PT
Vietnam fishery faces hefty loss to EU restrictions
A fisherman gather clams in the central province of Quang Nam on August 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh.
Without a stronger effort to remove the E.U. “yellow card”, Vietnam’s fishing industry may lose $480 million worth of exports annually.

Since October 2017 when the European Commission gave Vietnam a yellow card for shortcomings in its fight against illegal fishing, the nation’s fishery exports to the bloc has been falling, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) reports.

The value fell 12 percent between 2017 and 2019, and another 5.7 percent between 2019 and 2020 to $959 million.

The E.U. fell from the second biggest export market to the fourth behind the U.S., Japan and China.

If Vietnam still cannot improve its legal and administrative frameworks to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, it could face a "red card," meaning a trade ban on fishery products, VASEP says.

VASEP estimates Vietnam would directly lose $480 million a year for losing the E.U. market, and another $93 million in indirect impacts.

If the ban lasts two or three years, Vietnam’s fishery production would fall 30 percent in capacity.

But if Vietnam makes effort to remove the yellow card, the industry could soon recover and reach an export value to the E.U. of $1.2-1.4 billion in upcoming years, 25 percent higher from now, it says.

Fisheries is the fifth largest export category in Vietnam and accounts for 4 percent of total exports. Its value in recent years came to around $8.5-9 billion.

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