Vietnam: Advancing Plans for Catch Documentation and Enhanced Traceability
USAID Oceans and the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries (D-Fish) convened fisheries experts and government officials in Nha Trang, Vietnam on December 18, 2017, to further the country’s plans for enhanced seafood traceability and sustainability. The workshop marked one of the many initiatives that Vietnam has undertaken recently to enhance the sustainability of its fisheries and combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices.
Seafood is a major export product of Vietnam. Its primary export markets include the United States and Japan, particularly for shrimp, tuna and squid. The Government of Vietnam is seeking to improve the sustainability of its fisheries, combat IUU fishing practices and remain compliant with increasing international requirements that include the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program that goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Vietnam has been working with USAID Oceans since the program’s launch in 2015 and is an active member of the program’s technical working group.
USAID Oceans conducted research to help inform the country’s plans to develop an electronic catch documentation and traceability (CDT) system that will help answer the questions of who, what, when, where and how fish are captured, landed, processed, transported and ultimately brought to market. An extensive review of the country’s current CDT protocols and competencies was also conducted to identify priority needs, challenges and opportunities. USAID Oceans also identified potential public-private partnerships to ensure that the CDT system incorporates a wide range of key stakeholders, including fisheries organizations, industry and technology providers.
In addition to conducting in-field research, USAID Oceans brings best practices and learnings from ongoing pilots in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, where electronic CDT systems are being developed and tested. Such best practices include the identification of financial incentives to ensure high participation and support from the private sector.
This week’s workshop provided a venue to review the research results with key stakeholders and discuss the next steps in developing the CDT. A plan will be developed that outlines the transition from the country’s current paper-based CDT protocols to an electronic system that complements other government and industry databases and also complies with international market requirements. USAID Oceans, D-Fish and other local partners, such as the Vietnam Tuna Association will continue their collaboration to develop a plan that promotes sustainability, protects marine resources and incorporates improved human welfare measures for those that rely on Vietnam’s fisheries for their livelihoods and income.