EU set to lift ‘yellow card’ on Vietnam fisheries next year

By Dat Nguyen   June 26, 2018 | 11:44 pm PT
EU set to lift ‘yellow card’ on Vietnam fisheries next year
Vietnam will have to continue waiting until January 2019 to see EU considering lifting up the yellow card imposed on the country's fisheries in October 2017 due to illegal fishing. Photo by Reuters
European bloc sees improvements in tackling illegal fishing, but a lot of work remains.

Vietnam will have to wait another six months for the European Union to consider lifting a ‘yellow card’ restriction slapped last year because of illegal fishing.

After an evaluation done May 15-24 this year, the EC decided that they would consider lifting the yellow card in January next year, as Vietnam has shown “improvement,” according to a statement issued by the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The European Commission (EC), executive body of the 28-nation bloc (including the U.K.), had issued an official warning on October 23 last year that it would ban seafood imports from Vietnam unless Hanoi did more to tackle illegal fishing carried out by Vietnamese vessels in other countries’ territories.

The directorate, however, admitted that problems continued to dog the sector, especially in controls of fishing and tracing origins.

Vietnam currently has around 33,000 offshore fishing vessels, but only 3,000 of them, or 9 percent, are equipped with satellite navigation devices, it said, adding that the high cost of installation was a constraining factor.

Though Vietnam has acted on suggestions from EC last year to improve controls over offshore fishing in the 2017 Fishery Law, there was still room for improvement in the actual implementation process at local provinces, the directorate said.

Vietnam ranks among the top ten seafood producers in the world, according to the FAO, the U.N. food and agriculture organisation.

The E.U., the world's biggest fish importer, adopted a regulation that took effect in 2010, aiming to avoid complicity in illegal fishing and promote sustainable use of the sea resources.

The EC estimates that each year, between 11 and 26 million tons of fish, at least 15 percent of the global catch worth 8 and 19 billion euros, are caught illegally.

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