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Vietnamese boat owner gets $39,000 fine for IUU fishing

Vietnamese boat owner gets $39,000 fine for IUU fishing

Friday, March 22, 2024, 15:28 GMT+7
Vietnamese boat owner gets $39,000 fine for IUU fishing
A Vietnamese fishing boat owner, Tran Thi Hong Diem, signs a document on sanctioning for the act of illegal fishing in Thai waters, among other violations. Photo: Collaborator

The administration of southernmost Vietnam’s Ca Mau Province on Thursday announced a fine of US$39,000 imposed on a local fisherman for engaging in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in Thai waters last year.

The sanctioning came about one month ahead of the expected arrival of a European Committee (EC) team in Vietnam for its fifth IUU inspection.    

The VND917.5 million ($39,000) fine was given to Tran Thi Hong Diem, the boat owner, for illegal fishing in foreign waters, not using cruise monitoring equipment while at sea, uninstalling the equipment without supervision of its provider and installer, and using an over-15-meter long vessel not for the purposes specified in the fishing license, according to local authorities.

Tran Thi Hong Diem, the owner of the boat, was fined VND917.5 million ($39,000) for various violations, including illegal fishing in foreign waters, failure to use cruise monitoring equipment while at sea, uninstalling the equipment without supervision from its provider and installer, and operating a vessel over 15 meters in length for purposes not specified in the fishing license, according to local authorities.

On June 12, 2023, Diem’s fishing boat CM 92114 TS left the province’s Doc River and headed into the ocean, with her husband Ho Van Be as the captain and five seamen on board. 

Once the vessel had traveled two nautical miles beyond the river’s mouth, Be ordered that the cruise monitoring equipment be uninstalled and brought back to shore on another boat. 

Be also asked a seaman to cover the boat number plate with black paint before heading into Thai waters.  

Four days later, Diem asked Be to move into Thai waters for illegal fishing, and the boat and its crew were subsequently detained by Thai coast guards.

On August 15, 2023, Be and his seamen were brought to a Thai court, handed a fine, and told they would be jailed if they did not pay, according to Ca Mau Online. 

Be and two of the crew members have been released to Vietnam.

Ten days ago, the provincial administration also gave a fine of the same amount to another local boat owner for illicit fishing in Thai waters and for using a vessel less than 15 meters in length on the high seas.

In late January, the People’s Court of Kien Giang Province, also in southern Vietnam, gave jail terms of one to eight years to four fishermen for unlawfully leaving the country to engage in IUU fishing activities in Malaysian waters.

These cases happened amid Vietnam’s preparations for working with an EC team that is expected to arrive in Vietnam in late April for the fifth IUU inspection since the EC imposed an IUU fishing ‘yellow card’ warning on Vietnamese seafood in 2017.

The EC has sent its teams to Vietnam four times since that year for inspections, with the latest taking place in October 2023.

But the warning has yet to be removed due to limitations in some localities in compliance with relevant EC requirements.

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang recently directed relevant agencies and authorities in coastal regions to apply more stringent measures against IUU fishing so that the seven-year ‘yellow card’ can be lifted following the fifth inspection.

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Vinh Tho - Thanh Huyen / Tuoi Tre News

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