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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Seafood companies upset about IUU
Seafood export companies complain that they are facing big obstacles with the EU’s IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing), which took effect January 1, 2010.
Under IUU, all seafood exports to the EU must clearly show their origin, including the sea area where fish are caught and the names of the fishing boats or they will be refused entry.
Seafood companies observe that they have to gear up to fulfill the export orders for the first quarter of 2010, while they still seriously lack materials, and the IUU has made everything more confused.
Nguyen Thanh Son, Deputy Director of APT Company, admitted that it is difficult to obtain a certificate of origin. His company has shifted to producing seafood products from caught instead of farmed materials to fulfill export orders to the EU, because many catfish households have given up farming.
Son said that many other companies are also facing the same difficulties and shortages will badly influence exports.
He revealed that only a few big ships can get certificates of origin. Smaller agents that collect fish from different sources and intermediaries cannot track their origins. With the IUU, collectors and agents have to track down the origins of all materials, which will take a lot of time and money.
Director of a Binh Dinh seafood export company claimed it is quite complicated to obtain the certificate. The director said his company has to persuade every fishing boat and is scrambling for materials, but it still cannot obtain enough for processing.
The director noted that Decision 3477 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on following IUU law does not say that fishing boats have to dock at port where government agencies work to get certificates of origin. Meanwhile provincial authorities ask fishermen to dock at ports where there are government agencies. The director thinks that the requirement causes unnecessary difficulties and money for fishermen, especially when many places have no ports or management agencies.
Some fishing boats avoid docking at ports and meet buyers on the sea to sell their fish.
A big problem is that many seafood companies have to import materials to process domestically, so Vietnamese material suppliers are selling materials right on the sea to Chinese businessmen.
Truog Dinh Hoe, Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in a document sent to MARD, also wrote that there are still too many problems in granting certificates of origin under IUU.
Meanwhile, Tran Tien Dung, Acting Director of the HCM City Sub-department of Capture Fisheries and Fisheries Resources Protection (DECAFIREP) explained that seafood quality management agencies take responsibility for granting certificates to fishing boats docking at local ports.
Dung admitted that, in many cases, enterprises collect materials from fishermen who do not keep logs, though MARD has many times asked fishermen to record their fishing fields.
He stressed that the IUU law must be obeyed. Enterprises have no other choice than collecting materials from only fishermen who have logs.
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Political processes/EU Action Plan