Illegal fishing in Vietnam may win it an EU ban | opinion | environmental business

Rogue fishermen can see Vietnam banned from the EU seafood market. Although made great efforts to me Stop illegal fishing This year, the country is still limping By managing weak policies and lax enforcement of hunting laws.

Poaching gain vietnam a yellow card warning From the European Commission in 2017. Non-EU countries that export fish to the EU or submit their flags to ships that do so must meet strict fisheries management standards.

If they do not, they may be given a yellow card and their fish may eventually be excluded from the EU market. In 2019, a global monitoring body ranked Vietnam fifth worst In the world of illegal fishing. By 2021, it had greatly improved to 56 worse – But further improvement is needed, which includes tightening fisheries management across the board.

Heavy penalties in Vietnam are still less stringent than in other countries where poachers face imprisonment. Some local authorities ignore violations, and only a few cases are prosecuted. Brokers collude to bring Vietnamese ships into foreign waters to illegally fish, and bribes see the Vietnamese fishermen arrested there return to Vietnam with their boats.

Gathering data and evidence about illegal fishing is difficult because offenders use sophisticated tricks to avoid detection.

The Surveillance System for Boat Control at Sea is intended to provide onboard warnings when a ship crosses an international border. But this can be easily avoided: many Vietnamese fishermen remove or turn off their units or even place them on another vessel while their boat is at sea.

Certification of fishing in Vietnamese ports is limited and traceability activities do not meet the requirements of the European Commission. Fishing boats usually dock without proper permits and infractions go unpunished. Many captains fill out their catch logs in the port while the catch is unloaded, rather than at sea as required.

Efforts to prevent poaching are separate across the state and local levels. Many penalties exist on paper but are not applied in practice. Many management decisions have been ignored by fisheries agencies and fishers.

Offshore zoning means that many vessels operate in the offshore fishing grounds. Marine resources are depleted and fishing grounds are overlapping. All this serves as an incentive for fishermen to work in foreign waters instead.

Patrol management varies between provinces, which results in weak law enforcement because areas of responsibility are unclear. In Binh Dinh and Khan Hoa, for example, the Department of Fisheries Inspection Department of the Fisheries Branch runs the patrols as part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). But in Kien Giang and Binh Thuan, DARD directs patrols. even basic improvements It will go a long way to solve the problem.

Anti-poaching decisions must be reviewed and finalized as soon as possible. Currently, high profits mean that Vietnamese fishermen are evading and breaking the rules to continue illegal fishing. To be a deterrent, the new regulations need tough penalties such as prosecuting violators and publishing lists of boats and owners regularly caught breaking the law. Information on fisheries laws and regulations should also be widely disseminated.

The Vietnamese government needs to strengthen surveillance, surveillance and monitoring systems for fishing vessels and clarify the responsibilities of law enforcement stakeholders. The implementation of an electronic catch and traceability documentation (eCDT) system would be a significant improvement over existing pen-and-paper methods.

Delay is better than none: Vietnam needs to accede to relevant international treaties poaching.

Vietnam has come a long way in tackling illegal fishing. Whether it can end the problem with its self-imposed deadline of 2022 depends on how quickly it can tighten enforcement, improve education and streamline monitoring procedures to keep illegal boats out of its neighbours’ waters.

Tu Van Vuong is with the Institute of Marine Science and Fishing Technology and Director of Academic Affairs at Nha Trang University, Vietnam. The author declares a conflict of interest.

Originally published under Creative Commons by 360info™.

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