Implementing Fisheries Law 2017: Towards Responsible Fisheries
The People`s Committee of Quang Nam province has just issued a plan for implementation of the Fisheries Law 2017, assigning the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to coordinate with localities and relevant branches in the province to quickly take steps to prepare for the effective implementation of the law soon.
The Fisheries Law of 2017 concretized a number of issues related to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), addressing many recommendations of the European Commission (EC) after the ``yellow card`` penalty for Vietnam`s exported seafood in October 2017.
Accordingly, the law stipulates the number and allocation of fishing license for fishing vessels by fishing in the sea areas and decentralizes to the provincial level the license for each fishing vessel; specify output management according to quotas of migratory species and group-gathering species. About regulations on IUU fishing and strict sanctions against shipowners and captains who make the violation, the maximum penalty for fishing vessel owners is up to 1 billion VND.
In particular, the Fisheries Law of 2017 defines the responsibilities of fishery management organizations through the implementation of fishery statistics and certification of origin.
Accordingly, based on the EC recommendations, the law stipulates the responsibility of the fishing port authority to refuse the loading of seafood from fishing vessels due to illegal fishing.
According to Mr. Ngo Tan - Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, any fishing port in the province with sufficient traceability will be publicized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to domestic and foreign organizations to ensure strict traceability regulations of seafood.
The recently-adopted Fisheries Law 2017 also regulates the management of fishery products that are sourced from illegal fishing for temporary importation, re-export, temporary export, re-import, transshipment and transit through the Vietnamese territory.
At the same time, the Law regulates the handling of acts of using stateless vessels or vessels having the nationality of a non-member country for the purpose of illegal fishing in international waters under the jurisdiction of the regional fisheries management organizations.
According to Pham Thi Hoang Tam, Director of Quang Nam Fisheries Department, the new point in the Fisheries Law of 2017 is to have a national database on fisheries (Law 2003 does not address this issue). National databases cover all sectoral data on fisheries resources, aquaculture, and fishing vessels. The registration of fishing vessels will be done by the National Register of fishing vessels. All information and data will be standardized, digitized by science and technology, to be built unified from central to local level, following the e-government guidelines. Functional agencies can easily access this database to capture timely information, actively handling the situation.
Mr. Ngo Van Dinh - Deputy Director of Fisheries Department said that the new point of the Fisheries Law 2017 is the regulation on co-management for the protection of aquatic resources. Accordingly, the State grants management rights to the community organization to share the responsibility of protecting the resources. Fishery co-management is clearly defined as preventing acts of administrative violation and the right of patrol, inspection, and control to protect fisheries resources. In terms of quota management, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will allocate quotas for fishing licenses according to the number of fishing vessels and the volume allowed to fish by species for the provincial People`s Committee to issue quota licenses within its scope of management. About the management of fishing vessels, the new point is that fishing vessel building and repairing units can only operate when they are granted the certification of eligibility by the provincial People`s Committee. The registration of fishing vessels will be implemented by the method of socialization in order to attract more resources and create favorable conditions for people. ``Changes in the Fisheries Law of 2017 compared with the previous one is a shift of the people`s fisheries to responsible fisheries, towards sustainable development``, said Ngo Van Dinh.