International cooperation needed to protect fishery resources in East Sea: experts

Thursday, 2018-03-15 18:27:56
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Panel discussion at the event. (Photo: NDO/Trung Hung)
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NDO – International cooperation is the key to coping with the decline of fisheries in the South China Sea (the East Sea) and protecting the marine ecosystem, experts have said.

Approximately 70 regional experts gathered at the 2nd Ocean Dialogue themed "Fishery Cooperation in the South China Sea", organised by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, in Hanoi March 15. The event aims to seek solutions to minimise fishery losses and facilitate regional cooperation in the sector.

Speaking at the event Dr. Le Hai Binh, Vice President of DAV, said that for regional countries, fishing in the East Sea brings about more than simple economic benefits. It strongly affects the socio-economic stability and survival of hundreds of millions of people living along coastal areas. Fishery is also closely linked to legitimate rights to maritime resources as stated in international laws, especially the UNCLOS 1982.

Vice President of DAV, Dr. Le Hai Binh, speaks at the event. (Photo: NDO/Trung Hung)

Mr. Peter Girke, Head of the KAS Office in Hanoi contended that the fish stocks in the East Sea have been depleted at an alarming rate. He argued that cooperation must balance a variety of national interests, such as fishery, protection of the ocean’s ecology and maritime activities.

Ms. Stacey Nation, Political Counsellor of the Embassy of Australia in Hanoi shared that Australia has a multi-facetted approach to addressing fishery issues. Australia has been working with Vietnam to foster effective fishery cooperation and will maintain its strong commitment to bilateral cooperation in the future.

Speakers at the Dialogue covered a wide range of issues concerning fishery cooperation in the region, including overfishing and IUU fishing, regional fishery cooperation experience, and new initiatives to address fish stocks depletion in the East Sea.

According to Dr Vu Thanh Ca, from the Administration of Sea and Islands of Vietnam, over the past six months, Vietnam has made great efforts, focusing on the management and control of fishing activities, determining where the fish are caught, how much to catch and how to catch it, whether it complies with international law or not. Vietnam has also tightened the management of individual boats heading to sea and set very high penalties for any boats found violating the rules.

In addition to good fishery management and enforcement, he also emphasised the importance of resolving conflicts between fishermen and aquaculture farmers, as well as to changing the livelihoods of fishermen to improve their living standards.