Measures proposed to ensure Vietnamese fishers’ safety

A proposal has been submitted to the Govenment to establish control forces to protect fisheries in Viet Nam;s territorial waters, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has announced.

The forces would inspect foreign fishing vessels in Viet Nam’s territorial waters or in waters in which Viet Nam has signed agreements or conventions on fisheries with other countries. Besides punishing violators, these forces would also provide disaster relief and support to search-and-rescue operations, Phat said.

The proposal was motivated in part by increasing incidents of violations and a steep increase in cases of Vietnamese fishers captured by foreign forces.

Phat said that, as of now, local authorities patrolled the waters within 20 nautical miles of shore. Central authorities were responsible for waters beyond 20 nautical miles but had operated ineffectively due to a shortage of human resources.

Chu Tien Vinh, deputy director of the ministry’s Directorate of Fisheries, said the patrol forces would have the authority to demand organisations or individuals present documentation, to impose administrative fines, to investigate possible criminal acts, and to take preventative measures against violations of the laws regarding exploitation, protection and development of marine resources.

Vinh said current forces lacked such authority and could only act in co-operation with other agencies, including marine police or naval forces.

The ministry plan would propose the establishment of centrally-controlled patrol offices in each of five regions: north, north central and Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands, south central and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands, southeast and southwest.

Each patrol office would be equipped with two patrol boats of at least 3,000CV, modern and powerful enough to handle harsh weather conditions and spend long periods at sea. Modern equipment would include MF/HF radio devices, Global Positioning System (GPS) and marine satellite communications as well as equipment to serve search-and-rescue operations.

The proposal, if approved, would be implemented between now and 2020.
Source: Vietfish International

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