Vietnam may reduce fishing to conserve seafood resources

By Viet Tuan, Pham Chieu   July 25, 2023 | 05:50 pm PT
Vietnam may reduce fishing to conserve seafood resources
Vietnamese fishing vessels are anchored off the Spratly Islands, May 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
The agriculture ministry has proposed reducing the number of fishing vessels at sea from 86,800 to 83,600 over the next 7 years to preserve seafood sources.

A draft resolution on the protection and utilization of seafood and aquaculture resources for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision until 2050, proposes a reduction of 3,200 fishing vessels at sea across the nation until 2030.

Central Vietnam's sea regions - from Quang Tri to Binh Thuan provinces - have the highest number of fishing vessels with 33,100, followed by the Gulf of Tonkin - from Quang Ninh to Quang Binh - at 23,800, southeastern Vietnam - from Ba Ria-Vung Tau to Bac Lieu - with 13,000, and southwestern Vietnam - Kien Giang - at 13,600.

By 2030, all localities should see a drop of at least 12% of the vessels compared to 2020, the draft states.

Over the past 10 years, the number of fishing vessels in the country has been on a downward trend. In 2010, there were 128,400 vessels, but that figure had decreased by 41,600 12 years later.

Besides the reduction in the number of vessels, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has also proposed a ban on destructive fishing tools that may have a significant impact on juvenile seafood sources. Other tools that may impede the migratory paths of endangered species would also be banned.

Additionally, the number of people who directly harvest seafood sources would be reduced from 730,000 today to around 600,000 in 2030.

The move is intended to foster Vietnam’s sustainable fishing industry and ensure social security, as well as the country’s independence and sovereignty.

From 2010 to 2022, the total amount of seafood and aquaculture harvested increased from 2.4 million to over 3.86 million tons. In 2022, the total amount of seafood harvested reached 9 million tons, with an export turnover of $11 billion.

However, the agriculture ministry believes the amount of seafood harvested in Vietnamese sea regions has exceeded the threshold for sustainability due to a lack of management and the use of destructive tools. It has caused a continual drop in seafood reserves in Vietnamese seas, with around 5 million tons available in 2000 dropping to 4.3 million tons 10 years later. In 2019, only 3,95 million tons were left available.

Last month, agriculture minister Le Minh Hoan said the reduction in the number of fishing vessels would help create strong fishing unions. The ministry is considering calling on fishermen to build large ships with modern equipment to look for seafood further from the shore.

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