The European Union has issued a “yellow card” to Vietnam for the risk of being branded as a non-cooperating country on fisheries. This move demonstrates the bloc’s continuous fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing worldwide.
The yellow card highlights that Vietnam is not doing enough to protect its fisheries and fight illegal fishing. It pinpoints shortcomings, such as the lack of an effective sanctioning system to deter IUU fishing activities and a lack of action to deal with illegal fishing activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels in waters of neighboring countries, including Pacific Small Island Developing States. Moreover, the country has a poor system of controlling landings of fish that is processed locally before being exported to global markets, including the EU.
Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said that the EU couldn’t ignore the impact of illegal activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels on marine ecosystems in the Pacific. “We invite the Vietnamese authorities to step up their fight so we can reverse this decision quickly. We are offering them our technical support.”
Between 11 and 26 million tons of fish, i.e. at least 15% of world catches, are caught illegally every year, which is worth 8-19 billion euro. The EU is the world’s biggest importer and as such it does not want to be complicit and accept problematic products into its market. The IUU system that entered into force in 2010 is a key instrument in the fight against illegal fishing, designed to ensure that only those fishery products that have been certified as legal can access the EU’s single market.