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​​Vietnam likely to see EU ‘yellow card’ on seafood lifted in May: minister

​​Vietnam likely to see EU ‘yellow card’ on seafood lifted in May: minister

Monday, March 26, 2018, 10:00 GMT+7

Vietnam’s seafood could hopefully have the ‘yellow card,’ a kind of warning the European Commission gives to countries involved in illegal fishing, withdrawn somewhere in May, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said after a working visit to the European Union.

The EC imposed the warning on Vietnam on October 23, 2017 due to the Southeast Asian country’s failure to meet requirements on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing prevention.

Demonstrating Vietnam’s efforts to follow recommendations to have the ‘yellow card’ lifted was high on Minister Cuong’s agenda during his March 21-24 visit to the EU and Belgium.

After returning from his trip, Cuong told Vietnamese reporters on Sunday that he had pushed for the warning withdrawal for Vietnamese seafood during a meeting with European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella in Belgium.

In May, six months after the ‘yellow card’ comes into effect, the EU will conduct a review of Vietnam’s recent efforts on tracing the origin of its seafood catches, improving the legal framework for fishing and fighting illegal fishing, according to the minister.

Given the concerted efforts and resolve of the entire nation to settle the issue, Cuong said Vietnam is confident that the warning will be canceled following the May inspection.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The number of illegal fishing cases in foreign waters has lowered significantly, with almost no Vietnamese fishermen found hunting for seafood without permission around islands in the Pacific, the minister elaborated.

“Some illegal fishing cases remain unsolved as they took place in the overlapping waters between Vietnam and Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia,” he admitted.

Cuong added that Vietnam has also fortified the task of tracing seafood origin as recommended by the EU.

In October 2017, the EC explained that Vietnam was slapped with the ‘yellow card’ as the country was “not doing enough to fight illegal fishing.”

Vietnam lacks both an effective sanctioning system to deter IUU fishing activities, and adequate actions to address illegal fishing conducted by Vietnamese vessels in foreign waters.

The country has an inadequate system of control over fish that are processed locally before being exported to international markets, including the EU.

File photo of two Vietnamese offshore fishing boats. Photo: Tuoi Tre
File photo of two Vietnamese offshore fishing boats. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnam was therefore given six months to fix all of those issues before the EU considers whether to revoke the decision, or hand the country an even more serious warning, the ‘red card.’

If significant progress is made, the ‘yellow card’ will be replaced with a ‘green card,’ representing legal export status, whereas a ‘red card’ means that Vietnam will be banned from exporting its seafood to the EU.

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Son Luong / Tuoi Tre News

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