Vietnam and Australia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) intended to set up long-term cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The agreement was signed in Cần Thơ province within the framework of the APEC Food Security Week by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hà Công Tuấn and Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources of Australia.
Minister Ruston is in Vietnam from August 22-26 representing Australia at the APEC ministerial meeting on food security and sustainable agriculture.
“We have worked together successfully for over 10 years under the South East Asian Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices Including Combating IUU Fishing,” Minister Ruston pointed out.
Tuấn said the MoU aims to deepen bilateral ties and create a foundation for the regular cooperation between the two governments in handling IUU fishing activities.
The Vietnamese official stressed that the MOU would deepen cooperation and lay the foundation for ongoing partnership between the two governments as they address Australian and Vietnamese flag carrying vessels engaged in IUU fishing.
In addition, she explained that the associated public information campaign will also assist regional fishers to better understand international fishing rules and Vietnam will work with Australia to implement this campaign as soon as possible.
As part of the deal, the Vietnam suggested Australia build a shrimp laboratory in Vietnam to ensure the quality of Vietnamese exports of the crustacean.
Furthermore, the representatives of both countries committed to working together to accelerate export procedures for other agricultural products, contributing to increasing trade revenue between the two countries.
Both ministers also welcomed the start of an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country study on regional fisheries policies and regulations.
Minister Ruston said the study would help grow fisheries and the aquaculture sector to benefit local communities, while still taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the global economy.
“Fisheries and aquaculture are an important part of the Vietnamese economy, particularly to the well-being of local communities, and so Australia is glad to support the project with a financial contribution of AUD 257,000,” she concluded.