A senior official in the Vietnamese government has declared null and void China’s temporary ban on fishing in Vietnam’s waters and proposed steps to be taken for the time to come.
Vu Van Tam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the affirmation in a document he sent the local administrations in Vietnam’s coastal provinces and cities on Monday.
Tam suggested that the authorities encourage fishermen to continue catching fish in Vietnam’s waters and organize their boats in groups to enable mutual help in case of problems.
Vietnamese fishing vessels licensed to work in the Common Fishery Zone between Vietnam and China must not cross the border running through this area to reach the eastern part nearer to China, he said.
The Common Fishery Zone, where both Vietnamese and Chinese fishing boats can travel, is a body of water in the Gulf of Tonkin – which is off the coast of northern Vietnam and southern China.
He also required Vietnamese fishing boats entering and leaving docks to be strictly controlled, the vessels’ activities closely monitored, and reports on any possible unexpected sea incidents involving them promptly made.
The above statement came amidst dissatisfaction from the state-founded Vietnam Fisheries Society with China’s prohibition of fishing in part of the East Vietnam Sea, including the Gulf of Tonkin and Vietnam’s waters.
The restriction would be effective from May 1 to August 8, China said.
Rejecting the ban as ‘valueless,’ the society said its introduction militates against Vietnamese fishers’ livelihood, violates Vietnam’s sovereignty and legal rights, infringes international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and runs counter to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in East Vietnam Sea, of which both countries are signatories.
“More patrol vessels are needed in order to bolster the protection of fishermen, making them feel safe while working in Vietnam’s waters,” the society said in a document to Vietnamese bodies in late March.