A tight ship: Vietnam strengthens management of foreign boats

TN News

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Starting on June 1, registered foreign boats fishing in Vietnamese seas will have to sell their catches in the country and licenses to fish here will only be extended a maximum of three times.

They can sell fish abroad only if they have signed a Vietnamese government-approved contract to export from Vietnam, according to Decree 32/2010 on managing foreign boats fishing in Vietnamese waters.

The decree, which updates a 2004 document on the issue, also requires applicants to register all people onboard and it stipulates that at least one of them must be able to speak either Vietnamese or English.

Vietnam waters are defined based on the 2003 National Border Law and international treaties that Vietnam has signed with other countries, the decree said.

Foreign boat owners can obtain more than one license, one for each vessel, at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the procedures take a maximum of ten days.

The license validity remains unchanged at a maximum of 12 months for fishing boats and no more than 24 months for other fishery activities. It can be extended a total of three times. Previous regulations gave no limit to the amount of extensions.

Registered foreign boats fishing in Vietnamese seas currently have to carry one or two inspectors each assigned by the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The new decree requires foreign boat owners to buy full insurance for the inspectors during their time on the boat as well as to ensure safe working and living conditions for them.

Between January's end and February, border guards reported that up to 130 Chinese fishing boats had violated Vietnamese sea sovereignty before being chased off. In one of these cases, Da Nang border guards chased off 30 Chinese fishing boats only 45 nautical miles off the coast of the central city.

China told to stop fishing patrols in Truong Sa

Vietnam reaffirmed its indisputable sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagos on April 5, saying that China's sending of two fishing patrol ships to Truong Sa on April 1 had seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty.

"Vietnam requests that China end this activity and stop actions that could further complicate the East Sea situation, affecting the maintenance of peace, stability and cooperation in the region," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga on April 5.

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