THE European Commission has issued a ‘yellow card’ to Vietnam, indicating that it is being considered as a non-cooperating country in relation to controlling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The Commission claims that at least eight Vietnamese flagged vessels committed infringements in neighbouring countries and small islands in the central and western Pacific, where they have fished without a valid licence, and obstructed the work of coastal state officials.
Among other ‘infractions’ claimed by the Commission are that the Vietnamese authorities did not provide any support to prosecute the cases. The yellow card follows a five-year dialogue between the parties.
Now the Vietnamese authorities have been invited to engage in a formal procedure of dialogue to resolve the identified issues and implement a plan of corrective actions.
Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: ‘We cannot ignore the impact that illegal activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels are having on marine ecosystems in the Pacific.’
Vietnam has accepted most of the findings and its Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs is to examine more than 3,000 vessels to ensure their positioning devices can prevent them from fishing outside controlled areas.
It has also agreed to improve training and to step up a new marine aquaculture programme which will, hopefully, reduce dependence on conventional fishing activities.
Meanwhile, the Commission has withdrawn the ‘red card’ issued to Sri Lanka, indicating that it is no longer considered to be a non-cooperating country in relation to controlling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The decision to ban seafood exports from Sir Lanka has now been revoked.
Picture: EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella