E.C. Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius made the remarks at a meeting with Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan in Brussels on September 18.

The Vietnamese delegation led by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan at a working session with the E.C. in Brussels (Photo: sggp.org.vn)

The E.C. representative also said the E.C. wants to assist the Southeast Asian nation in becoming a model of sustainable fisheries development and anti-illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the world. 

In the meeting, Hoan told Sinkevičius that Vietnam saw the yellow card of the E.C. not only as a challenge but also an opportunity for the local fisheries sector to switch from a small-scale, tropical, multi-sector, multi-species industry to a responsible and sustainable one. A comprehensive plan with specific goals and solutions has been developed and implemented across all levels, especially in coastal localities, with an active participation of authorities, organizations, fishing communities, associations, and seafood businesses. 

So far, with consensus and concerted effort from the entire political system, Vietnam has achieved notable results, including high awareness and resolute actions in implementing legal provisions and E.C. recommendations on IUU fishing prevention and control across all levels, sectors, fishing communities, businesses, and society, according to the minister. 

He went on to say that a comprehensive legal framework to manage fisheries and combat IUU fishing has been formed with the promulgation of the fisheries law, and the management of fishing vessels has significantly improved, with a national database for fishing vessels established and operated. Currently, over 97.65% of offshore fishing ships (with a length of 15 meters or more) have installed tracking devices. Meanwhile, seafood origin tracing has been carried out and controlled throughout the supply chain, from quantity control at ports to export certificate issuance and raw material control at processing plants. 

In addition, a national database on administrative violations in fisheries has been formed, providing data to 28 coastal localities, the border guards and coast guard forces, contributing to a remarkable reduction in vessels' violation of foreign waters since 2015.   

The minister stressed that Vietnam has clearly identified sustainable fisheries development as the key to addressing the E.C.'s yellow card warning.

Based on those reasons, he suggested that the E.U. quickly remove the warning for Vietnam. 

Minister Hoan also asked the E.U. to classify Vietnam as a low-risk one concerning the implementation of the E.U.'s new regulations on combating deforestation, continue promoting trade and investment in Vietnam's agriculture, and support Vietnam in developing eco-friendly farming, circular economy, emissions reduction, livelihood transformation for fishermen, sustainable blue economy, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable forest management. 

The Vietnamese minister also had working sessions with officials of the E.C. Directorate-General for the Environment (DG Environment) and Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), during which he underscored the Vietnamese Government's commitment to transforming agriculture in an eco-friendly and sustainable direction and developing a transparent and sustainable farming industry as the nation steers towards becoming a major global supplier of food products.

Source: VNA