PM orders urgent actions to curb illegal fishing

The Prime Minister on May 28 issued an official dispatch urging urgent actions to curb and prevent illegal operation of Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen in foreign waters.
Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo

Dispatch No. 732/CD-TTg was issued in the context of rising violations of foreign waters since the end of 2015, involving Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen, especially those from the central provinces of Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Binh Thuan, and the southern provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Kien Giang, Ca Mau, Ben Tre and Tien Giang.

Their violations have harmed Vietnam’s image in the international area and caused adverse impacts on the country’s seafood export, the document said. 

Accordingly, the PM required the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to promptly submit to the Government for approval a national programme of action on preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, saying the programme must be put into place right after the approval. 

At the same time, the ministry should intensify law enforcement to prevent illegal fishing and impose stricter punishment on both individuals and organisations that violate legal regulations in the field. 

The ministry is instructed to increase negotiations to sign fishery cooperation agreements, set up hotlines to supervise fishing activities and conduct joint patrols with concerned countries.

The PM urged the MARD to instruct fisheries surveillance forces to increase law enforcement while coordinating with ministries, agencies, localities and international organisations to popularise national and international fisheries regulations among relevant organisations and individuals. 

The Ministry of National Defence was required to instruct competent agencies to keep a close watch on fishing boats at sea, step up patrols in bordering and overlapping waters to stop Vietnamese fishing boats from violating foreign waters as well as prevent foreign fishing boats from entering Vietnam’s waters. 

Both ministries were asked to review and amend relevant current policies and regulations to tighten the management of fishing activities.

The PM requested the Ministry of Public Security to team up with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to swiftly identify fishermen arrested by foreign countries to soon bring them home, and strictly manage the released fishermen. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was tasked with protecting Vietnamese fishermen detained abroad and opposing the illegal arrest of Vietnamese fishermen in the country’s waters or overlapping areas without clear delimitation between Vietnam and other countries. 

The Ministry of Information and Communications was ordered to enhance the popularisation of relevant regulations among the public, and coordinate with concerned ministries to announce outcomes of investigation and punishment against individuals and organisations that organize illegal fishing activities. 

The PM also required the People’s Committees of cities and provinces, especially Quang Ngai, Kien Giang, Ca Mau, Binh Dinh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Thuan, Ben Tre and Tien Giang, to take measures to punish authorities of localities where there are many illegal fishing activities by fishing boats and fishermen before August 15, 2017. 

The Chairman of provincial or municipal People’s Committees and heads of administrations at lower levels will have to bear responsibility before the PM if they fail to stop the illegal fishing. 

The Prime Minister also instructed several sanctions against fishing boat owners who have repeatedly made violations.

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