Viet Nam is implementing regulations on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, or IUU, set by the European Commission, according to the General Department of Seafood under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Under the regulation, which took effect last January, Vietnamese seafood exported to the EU should have certificates verifying the fish have been caught legally, and meet hygiene and safety conditions.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development together with the General Department of Seafood and the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of EC (DG-MARE), have held training courses on the IUU for fishermen and seafood firms, the Vietnam Economic Times said.
It cited the GDS as saying that in the first 10 months of implementing the IUU, agencies have granted nearly 17,000 original certificates and 3,599 catch certificates for more than 78,000 tonnes of fishing products in coastal provinces.
But, there are still many difficulties faced by everyone in implementing IUU, the department said.
The owners of fishing vessels, for instance, encountered difficulties in maintaining logs and making reports about their operations because of their low literacy levels.
Because exporters buy materials through many middlemen, for each batch of goods exported to the EU, export firms had to prepare a lot of certificates, which was a time-consuming and costly process, said Chu Tien Vinh, Deputy Head of the General Department of Seafood.
In addition, businesses and certifying agencies were also not clear about seafood species that these regulations did not cover, he said.
MARD will work with the DG-MARE to deal with difficulties that Viet Nam is facing in implementing the IUU.
The ministry has also asked the Department for Aquatic Resources Exploitation and Protection, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department and the Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers to compile a draft regulation on catch certification and submit it this month.
The EU is the largest consumer of Vietnamese seafood.
By the end of last month, the country had a fleet of about 130,000 fishing vessels, of which 128,000 specialised in offshore fishing, the department said.