Asian Countries Continue to Work to Meet European Commission IUU Standards
The European Commission (EC) recently delayed a visit to Vietnam intended to review the country’s efforts to address IUU fishing concerns. As a result, Vietnam’s yellow card penalty issued by the EC in 2017 remains in place, and the delay prolongs anxiety over the future of Vietnam’s fisheries exports to Europe. In 2017, Vietnam exported USD$1.4 billion in seafood to the EU – accounting for around 16.8% of its total seafood export value. Failing to address the EC’s concerns could mean significant economic loss if they incur a red card penalty, which would ban its fisheries exports from Europe. So far, Vietnam has made some progress reforming its fisheries policies – including developing fishing quota allocations and mandating the installation of vessel monitoring systems on vessels over 24 meters in length starting in April 2019. Vietnam is not the only country in Asia beleaguered by IUU fishing concerns and compelled to reform its fisheries under the EC’s carding system. Taiwan is also under scrutiny, holding a yellow card since 2015. Vietnam’s neighbor Cambodia is also one of only three countries worldwide still subjected to the harsher red card penalty. While the region still has more work to do on addressing IUU fishing concerns and implementing sustainable fisheries management, the European Commission has lifted yellow cards sanctioned in the past, most recently for Thailand in January 2019 after it took steps to improve its fisheries management and enforcement against IUU fishing.