New challenges for the Vietnam’s Fisheries

Current situation of fisheries industry in early 2020

The fisheries situation in Q1/2020 is more positive due to favorable weather conditions for fishing activities. boats are being restructured in the direction of increasing large-capacity vessels to enhance sea fishing output.

In Q1/2020, fishing output reached 841 thousand tons, an increase of 1.9% compared to the same period in 2019. Domestic fishing was estimated at 34.8 thousand tons, down 1.7% over the same period in 2019. Some main exploiting objects such as small floating fish including herring, anchovies, scad increased significantly. The output of tuna in Q1/2020 reached 25,160 tons, slightly exceeding the same period in 2019.

Source: VIRAC, GSO

According to the recent report of the General Department of Fisheries, the exploited output in April 2020 reached 339.5 thousand tons, down 1.9% compared to April 2019. In the first four months of 2020, the output will reach 1.18 million tons, up 0.8% over the same period, sea exploitation reached 1.13 million tons, up 0.8%.

Major fishing areas

Vietnam’s seafood production and export activities are scattered across the country with a diversity of seafood types. In general, it can be divided into several major export regions.

North Central and Central Coast region: brackish water aquaculture, especially promoting the strength of marine farming, focusing on a number of main commodities such as shrimp, blood cockles, abalone, song fish, fish, red snapper…

Southeast region including 4 provinces: Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Ba Ria – Vung Tau and Ho Chi Minh City, mainly raising reservoir freshwater aquatic species and brackish water fish such as grouper, cobia, tilapia, shrimp…

Source: VIRAC, GSO

The Mekong Delta region, with its strengths, has become the main aquaculture and export seafood region of Vietnam. According to statistics in 2011, the country had 37 provinces having seafood exporting enterprises, of which the provinces with the largest seafood export turnover were Ca Mau, HCMC, Can Tho, Dong Thap, Khanh Hoa, Soc Trang… Nevertheless, Vietnam’s strategy of increasing its fishery exports faced a number of constraints and deficiencies.

Difficulties in fishing

Decree 26/2019/ND-CP guiding the Fisheries Law 2017

Decree 26/2019/ND-CP, guiding the 2017 Fisheries Law, implemented many new regulations for the fisheries sector, but two of them are not appropriate and cause difficulties for fishermen. That is the regulation that fishing vessels with a length of 15m or more operate in high seas, cannot operate in coastal areas and open areas as before. Therefore, the licensing of fishing for these ships is facing obstacles.

Specifically, licensing to operate in high seas under Decree 26 leads to a number of shortcomings such as unsafe for fishing vessels. The registry and technical safety certificate of this fishing vessel has been issued in accordance with safe operating waters as open areas; not suitable for the fishing professions.

The inadequacies in the allocation of quotas for fishing licenses cause many fishing vessels to abandon them or cause difficulties in the traceability of fisheries.

Illegal fishing activities

In October 2017, the European Commission (EC) warned of a “yellow card” for Vietnam’s caught seafood products exported to the European market. Meanwhile, all 100% of Vietnam’s seafood shipments, exported to the European market, are subjected to inspection for a period of 15-20 days, leading to a decrease in efficiency and a decrease in export value. That led to a decrease in market share and had a great impact on business and fishing because this is the second largest seafood export market of Vietnam.

After 2 years of being warned by the EC “yellow card”, Vietnam’s seafood export to the European market has decreased by 6.5% and continues to slow down in 2019. From the 2nd position, the European market has dropped to the 5th place and the share of the market decreased from 18% to 13% in the seafood export map of Vietnam.

Warning “Yellow card” for fishing products of Vietnam, along with recommendations and problems in the procedures for certifying and certifying the origin of seafood affect seafood production and export activities of our country. Ships with intentions to execute fishing must have fishing permits, allowing them to operate in the right fishing grounds. The cruise monitoring device must be installed and turned on continuously during the operation.

Technical logistics facilities

Fishing logistic facilities such as fishing ports and storm shelter anchors have been planned. However, the resources for construction investment are still limited, failing to meet the actual requirements for production.

The application of technological and technical advances in the field of fishing, especially in product preservation has been gradually improved. Yet, it is still slow to meet the demand for development. The behavior and practices of fishermen are slowly changing, failing to keep up with the modernization of the fishing profession.

Recommendations for the fisheries sector – technology applied in seafood traceability 

The major seafood import markets in the world, especially the EU, the US, Japan, and Korea, all have strict requirements for quality control and traceability. Many seafood traceability methods and hundreds of individual systems have greatly emerged in recent years in seafood supply chains.

In the context of the actual situation and capacity of Vietnam, the solution combines RFID technology and blockchain to build a product traceability system model in fisheries and aquaculture. Product quality improvement is a development trend to demonstrate the sustainable, legal origin of the product. This model combines traditional data storage through the server through an RFID reader and the blockchains information sharing storage.

The current urgent problem of Vietnamese fisheries is to switch from fishing to marine farming, specifically to reduce the capacity of ships using high technology. On the one hand, according to the planning of the aquaculture process to improve the value chain of fisheries. On the other hand, it is necessary to combine RFID and blockchain technology to build a traceability system to make the management and inspection of the origin of seafood easier. In the near future, it is possible to strictly control offshore fishing and effectively manage aquaculture.

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