Commission warns Vietnam over insufficient action to fight illegal fishing

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Series Details IP/17/4064
Publication Date 23/10/2017
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The European Commission issued on 23 October 2017 a 'yellow card' against Vietnam, which notifies the country of the need to step up its actions in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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The decision identifies a series of shortcomings, such as the lack of an effective sanctioning system to deter IUU fishing activities and a lack of action to address illegal fishing activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels in waters of neighbouring countries. The Commission also argued Vietnam presented a poor system to control landings of fish that is processed locally before being exported to international markets, including the European Union.

This 'Yellow Card' does not entail any measures affecting trade, as it is considered as a warning and offers the possibility for Vietnam to take measures to rectify the situation. The Commission proposed simultaneously an Action Plan to support the country in addressing the identified shortcomings. The decision is a result of an analysis and takes into account the level of development of the country. It follows a period of informal discussions with the national authorities since 2012.

The IUU Regulation is the key instrument in the fight against illegal fishing. When third States are unable to comply with their international obligations as flag, coastal, port and market States, the Commission formalises this process of cooperation and assistance with them to help improve their legal and administrative frameworks to fight against IUU fishing. The steps in this process are first a warning ('yellow card'), a 'green card' if issues are solved or a 'red card' if they are not. The latter leads to a listing by the Council of the European Union, followed by a series of measures for the third country, including a trade ban on fishery products.

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EurActiv, 24/10/2017: EU gives Vietnam ‘yellow card’ over illegal fishing

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