THE PRIME MINISTER
THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Independence - Freedom - Happiness
Hanoi, February 13, 2023
Promulgating the Plan of Action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and make preparations for the 4th working session with the European Commission’s Inspection Team
THE PRIME MINISTER
Pursuant to the June 19, 2015 Law on Organization of the Government; and the November 22, 2019 Law Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Law on Organization of the Government and the Law on Organization of Local Administration;
Pursuant to the November 21, 2017 Law on Fisheries;
At the proposal of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,
Article 1. To promulgate the Plan of Action to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (below referred to as IUU fishing) and make preparations for the 4th working session with the European Commission’s Inspection Team, with the following principal contents:
1. To prevent and eliminate IUU fishing are the responsibility of every coastal country in order to protect aquatic resources and ensure sustainable marine ecosystems, stabilize the sustainable livelihood for the people, assure national defense and security in marine areas, and implement Vietnam’s international commitments and treaties to which Vietnam has acceded or is a contracting party.
2. To prevent and eliminate IUU fishing so as to effectively implement Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW of October 22, 2018, of the Party Central Committee (the XIIth Congress), on the Strategy for sustainable development of Vietnam’s marine economy through 2030, with a vision toward 2045, and the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 339/QD-TTg of March 11, 2021, approving the Strategy for Vietnam’s fisheries development through 2030, with a vision toward 2045.
1. To synchronously, effectively and efficiently implement the provisions of the law on fisheries; to address problems and limitations according to the European Commission (EC)’s recommendations on IUU fishing combat, and remove the “yellow card” warning in 2023.
2. To create an unanimity in the entire political system’s awareness about, and action and involvement in, the IUU fishing prevention and combat. Heads of Party Committees and organizations and local administrations at all levels of related committees, ministries, sectors and localities shall personally lead and direct, and take responsibility for, the IUU fishing prevention and combat, regarding it as a priority and urgent political task and rallying all resources for implementation, with the resolve to remove the “yellow card” warning.
3. To manage fishing activities and sustainably develop the fisheries sector for the benefit of the people and the nation; to heighten the profile and image and uphold the international responsibility of Vietnam in the implementation of its international commitments and treaties on protection of the marine environment and sustainable marine ecosystems, thus contributing to maintaining national defense and security and the Fatherland’s marine and island sovereignty.
III. TASKS AND SOLUTIONS THROUGH MAY 2023
1. Regarding information and communication
- To carry out information and communication campaigns both at home and on international fora in order to ensue transparency and truthfulness in Vietnam’s efforts to combat IUU fishing.
- To diversify forms of public communication about, training in, and dissemination of, regulations on IUU fishing combat among fishermen and related organizations and individuals.
2. Regarding legal framework, mechanisms and policies
To review, amend and supplement legal documents according to the EC’s recommendations to make them conform to the practical situation according to fast-track procedures.
3. Regarding the management of the fishing fleet and monitoring, inspection and control of fishing vessels
- To review and make statistics of the number of local fishing vessels, and fully complete the registration, inspection and marking of fishing vessels, grant of fishing licenses and installation of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) under regulations.
- To update all fishing vessel data to the national fisheries database (VNFishbase).
- To draw up the list of fishing vessels not engaged in fishing activities and vessels that are most likely to violate the IUU rules, then send it to functional agencies, and assign specific units and individuals to monitor and manage such vessels.
- To inspect and control all fishing vessels that depart from and arrive at coast border-guard posts/stations; to inspect and control fishing vessels departing from or arriving at fishing ports under regulations in order to ensure that VMS operate around the clock from the time of departure to the time of arrival of fishing vessels; to monitor and supervise around the clock all fishing vessels operating at sea with the use of VMS.
- To formulate regulations on coordination among localities in order to control all fishing vessels of provinces operating in marine areas beyond such provinces, and fishing vessels of one province that arrive at ports of another province for requesting confirmation though certification for such vessels has been made in the former province.
- To formulate mechanisms and policies to help fishing vessel owners to purchase and install VMS and pay satellite subscription charges for maintaining the operation of VMS.
- To expeditiously form local fisheries resource surveillance teams in accordance with the 2017 Law on Fisheries and the Law on Organization of Local Administration according to the provincial competence.
4. Regarding the confirmation, certification and tracing of origin of fished aquatic products
- To confirm, certify and trace origin of catches under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, ensuring that all dossiers for shipments exported to the European Union (EU) market and other markets contain requirements on tracing of origin of catches.
- To review fish landing sites (fishing harbors, fishing ports, etc.) for unloading catches and organize monitoring and tracing of origin of all catches unloaded in localities.
- To ensure that all fishing vessels with the hull length of 15 meters or more must arrive at designated ports, and vessel masters shall make a notice at least 1 hour before their vessels arrive at ports and make entries in and submit logbooks of fishing vessels under regulations; to check and collate information in such logbooks to ensure its consistency with fishing vessel monitoring data.
- To connect software of the system for control of catches and imported aquatic products with the Vietnam National Single Window; to control all catches imported from overseas in compliance with the Agreement on Port State Measures; to devise solutions to strictly control catches imported into Vietnam by container ships.
- To arrange sufficient fisheries, fisheries surveillance and animal health human resources at fishing ports, seaports and fisheries inspection and control offices at fishing ports to inspect and control fishing vessels and domestic catches or imported aquatic products.
5. Regarding the enforcement of law and handling of violations
- To stop the situation that Vietnamese fishing vessels illegally fish in foreign marine areas.
- To investigate and handle all cases in which Vietnamese fishing vessels are captured and handled by foreign countries, sanction all cases of illegal fishing in foreign marine areas, and notify them in the mass media.
- To investigate and consolidate case files, prosecute and try cases of brokerage and connection to bring Vietnamese fishing vessels and fishermen to illegally fish in foreign marine areas in order to prevent and handle violations and serve the public communication and deterrence.
- To launch, with coordination among functional agencies, intensive campaigns to patrol, inspect, control and strictly handle all IUU fishing acts under regulations.
- To verify and handle all fishing vessels that fail to maintain connection of their VMS under regulations.
- To update all results of the sanctioning of IUU fishing acts to the software system for monitoring and management of the handling of administrative violations in the field of fisheries.
- To carry out inspection and examination and strictly handle designated fishing ports, VMS suppliers, enterprises and related organizations and individuals that commit violations in the course of performance of the anti-IUU fishing task.
6. Regarding international cooperation
To negotiate, conclude, and organize installation of hotlines between Vietnam and Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, and China for exchange of information and handling of violations involving fishing vessels and fishermen from these countries.
IV. LONG-TERM TASKS AND SOLUTIONS
1. Implementing programs, schemes and master plans on sustainable fisheries development already approved by the Prime Minister.
2. Making adequate investment to ensure the conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems and restructuring of the fisheries sector in the direction of reducing fishing and increasing aquaculture, particularly marine aquaculture.
3. Carrying out transformation of fishing occupations, thereby ensuring sustainable livelihood for coastal fishermen’s communities.
4. Allocating sufficient public investment funds for investment in and upgrading of infrastructure facilities of fishing ports, storm shelters for fishing vessels, and the offshore information systems for fisheries management.
5. Formulating mechanisms and policies for debt charge-off or rescheduling for owners of legal fishing vessels that are not yet able to pay such debts.
6. Formulating programs on training and improvement of occupational skills; guiding the management of fishing workers in accordance with the domestic and international labor laws.
7. Formulating plans and stepping up negotiations on demarcation of contiguous or undemarcated marine areas between Vietnam and such foreign countries as China, Malaysia and other concerned neighboring countries; for the immediate future, studying and proposing solutions related to fishing activities of Vietnamese fishing vessels in the East Sea.
8. Organizing international cooperation in fisheries and IUU fishing prevention and combat, and fishing cooperation between Vietnam and foreign countries and regional and international fisheries organizations; fulfilling Vietnam’s obligations and commitments toward international agreements and conventions on fisheries to which Vietnam is a contracting party or has acceded in order to prevent and eliminate IUU fishing, and organize public communication about, and training in, regulations on IUU fishing at home and on international fora.
(See details of the tasks in Appendix II to this Decision).
Article 2. Organization of implementation
1. Based on the objectives, tasks and solutions approved under this Plan and directing opinions of the standing member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, the Prime Minister and the head of the National Steering Committee for IUU Fishing Prevention and Combat, and their assigned functions and tasks, related committees, ministries, sectors and localities shall formulate their plans and estimate funds for performance of their assigned tasks, and send before November 15 every year or upon request reports to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for monitoring and summing up.
2. The Ministry of Finance shall base itself on the fund-balancing capacity of the central budget and proposals of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and related ministries and sectors to incorporate funds for performance of activities and tasks set forth in the Plan in annual recurrent expenditure estimates of the central budget, then submit them to competent authorities for balancing and allocation thereof in accordance with the Law on the State Budget and guiding documents.
3. The Ministry of Planning and Investment shall allocate sufficient public investment funds for investment in and upgrading of fisheries infrastructure facilities to meet the IUU fishing prevention requirements.
4. Provincial-level People’s Committees shall allocate sufficient funds for implementation of this Plan.
5. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development shall assume the prime responsibility for urging and inspecting ministries, sectors, localities and related organizations and individuals in the implementation of this Plan, and summing up and reporting on implementation results to the Prime Minister.
Article 3. Effect
This Decision takes effect on the date of its signing.
Article 4. Implementation responsibility
Ministers, heads of ministerial-level agencies, heads of government-attached agencies, chairpersons of provincial-level People’s Committees of coastal localities, heads of related agencies and units, and related organizations and individuals shall implement this Decision.-
For the Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister
TRAN LUU QUANG
* The Appendices to this Decision are not translated.
 Công Báo Nos 561-562 (28/02/2023)