Posted on 01 April 2020
The Viet Nam Yellowfin Tuna Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) had an annual progress report and 3-year independent audit
(conducted by Poseidon ARM Ltd.) in December, 2019. The revised FIP Action Plan for 2020 takes into account developments between 2016 to 2019, based on results of the FIP review meeting held in Hanoi, 12 December 2019.
The review highlighted generally favourable FIP progress, with a marked increase in the rate of progress across several key issues, as well as remaining gaps and key issues. Summary findings of the review include:
- Principle 1 - Some components of P1 are likely to pass without condition (Yellowfin stock status (1.1.1) and Stock Assessment (1.2.4), some components of P1 would pass with a condition (Information (1.2.3) and some should fail (Harvest Strategy and Harvest Control Rules).
- Principle 2 - For P2, the primary species (P2.1) is bigeye tuna, which now has a favourable stock status, but aspects of the fishery specific strategy have yet to be developed within Viet Nam; for secondary species, risks to escolar, sailfish and blue shark need to be assessed under a SAFE review, as well as baitfish (squid and flying fish) to be assessed as an extension to the RIMF Risk Assessment work
- Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species issues (P2.3) have been progressed further with the adoption of national measures protecting sea turtles and sharks (Decree 26). The list of species includes two of the three shark species caught by handline: scalloped hammerhead and Pelagic thresher shark, but not Blue shark (which is not on the ETP list). Shark finning would therefore be an issue if blue sharks are caught and the fins landed detached.
- The simplest management mitigation strategy for above would be to add blue sharks (a Near Threatened species under IUCN) to the list of protected species as an appropriate mitigation strategy.
- P2 is now highly likely to pass, but with a condition on the strengthening of information on secondary and ETP species, as well as resolving the above gap related to Blue sharks. There are no associated habitat issues (P 2.4), but the impact of the fishery on ecosystems should be identified (P 2.5), and this has been recommended for a specific activity for South China Sea under the WPEA programme.
- Governance issues (P3) have been strengthened, following Viet Nam’s response to the EU Yellow Card (Directive 45). This includes incorporation of the precautionary and ecosystem approaches to fisheries management into the Legal framework (3.1.1) and fishery management (3.1.3), along fishery specific objectives (3.2.1). The Compliance system (3.2.3) has also been strengthened with a revision to sanctions (Directive 42) and the application of control measures. Inspections on handline vessels are set at 20% (Decree 26) for vessels between 15 to 24 meters, but are also said to include a risk based component.
- Evidence of systematic compliance with logbook reporting and bycatch reporting and prohibitions is not fully evident and would need to be provided for the fishery to demonstrate this. Further evidence has been requested from GoV to demonstrate a system of internal and occasional external performance review.
An assessment of current status of the fisheries against the principle guideposts is summarized below.
FIP Benchmarking - Report Sheet
The review’s findings have been applied in the updated Action Plan to improve the guidance for the activities and milestones required to reach the MSC Standard, integrating changes and clarifying any areas of uncertainty. Bolstered by these generally positive results, the FIP Coordination Unit is looking forward to continued collaborative efforts with industry partners, fishers, government authorities and other stakeholders, in moving the FIP steadily towards eventual MSC certification.