INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM

August 1999


LOCATIONS OF MAIN LANDING PLACES

Viet Nam can in general be divided into four main fishing areas: Gulf of Tonkin; Central Viet Nam (the Southern Mainland Shelf); Southeastern Viet Nam (Northern Sunda Shelf and part of the Central Sunda Shelf); and Southwestern Viet Nam (part of Gulf of Thailand).

Vietnamese public statistics are based on Provinces, with no immediate structures (i.e. auction halls or similar) to provide catch details based on landing places.

The following table gives an indication of the geographical importance of marine fisheries in each of those provinces with direct access to the sea.

Total marine catch of coastal Provinces in Viet Nam and number of landing places, processing plants and length of coastline for 11 Provinces

 

No. of landing places

Length of coastline (km)

No. of processing plants (1996)

Total marine catch (t) 1996 (1994)

Gulf of Tonkin

Quang Nihn
Hai Phong
Thai Bihn
Nam Ha
Nihn Bihn
Thanh Hoa
Nghe An
Ha Tinh
Quang Bihn

16
12
–
–
–
–
6
–
–

250
50
–
–
–
–
82
–
–

4
4
–
–
–
-
5
–
–

(11 665)
16 500 (11 763)
(5 000)
(7 976)
(600)
(21 900)
19 000 (20 000)
(14 300)
(11 704)

Central Viet Nam

Quang Tri
Thuathien-Hue
QuangNam-DaNang
Quang Ngai
Bihn Dinh
Phu Yen
Khanh Hoa
Ninh Thuan

–
–
15+3
–
–
–
6
–

–
–
125+30
–
–
–
200
–

–
–
2+10
–
–
–
20
–

(7 200)
(11 500)
25 250+16 000 (37 435)
(30 000)
(25 000)
(15 524)
52 000 (40 429)
(19 000)

Southeast Viet Nam

Binh Thuan
BaRiaa-Vung Tau
HoChi Minh City
TienGiang
BenTre
TraVinh
VinhLong
CanTho
SocTrang

8
5
–
–
–
–
–
–
–

200
100
–
–
–
–
–
–
–

5
14
–
–
–
–
–
–
–

10 1000 (94 000)
100 874 (84 793)
(14 600)
(36 000)
(36 000)
(48 800)
(2 250)
(913)
(14 523)

Southwest Viet Nam

Minh Hai
KienGiang

12(1)+3(2)
24

251+56
200

11+6
10

120 000+0 (101500)
190 765 (155 000)

NOTES: (1) Ca Mau (Production includes Bac Lieu). (2) Bac Lieu (production included in Ca Mau)

Estimates of catch composition on the basis of 11 provinces (1 October 1996 to 30 September 1997) show that 63% of the catch is landed in the south. The most important species groups reported are anchovies, medium-sized mixed fish, trash fish, mackerel (Indian), rays, scads and small tuna.

FISHERIES POLICIES AND PLANS

The Government of Viet Nam, through the Ministry of Fisheries, is determined to establish a basis for scientific management and decision making as a precondition for sustainable management practices and the strengthening of the development process.

Overall strategies

The overall development objectives of the Government for the fisheries sector are:

  • To increase employment opportunities, income and living standard of fishing and aquaculture communities (social objectives, cohesion).

  • To increase the contribution of fisheries to national economic and social development, including social stability and national security (growth, stability and security).

  • To improve nutritional standards of the people by increasing the supply of fish and aquatic products for domestic consumption (health).

  • To increase exports and foreign exchange earnings by increasing supplies to export and by improving the value added and the processing of fishery products (balance of payment, growth, international competition).

  • To strengthen the sustainable development of fisheries through improved management of fishery resources and habitats (protection of resource base, monitoring and control).

Specific objectives

The specific objectives for capture fisheries are:

  • To increase fish production from offshore sources.

  • To maintain the current levels of fish production from coastal sources while seeking to increase quality and value.

  • To increase or sustain production from brackish water capture fisheries.

The objectives for aquaculture are:

  • To increase production from aquaculture while seeking to improve the efficiency of production.

  • To increase production from all freshwater habitats by: (i) improving management and stocking in open water habitats; (ii) increasing production from aquaculture; and (iii) increasing production from integrated farming systems

  • To increase production from marine habitats by developing coastal aquaculture and sea farming activities by: (i) developing and implementing appropriate management systems; (ii) implementing habitat and ecosystem improvement; and (iii) implementing the stocking of coastal waters.

Management measures in use

As indicated below, the legal framework as well as the institutional framework is in place for implementing a fisheries management system, but coordination and clear demarcation between authorities, as well as the necessary scientific basis, are not yet fully developed, and investment funds are scarce.

Protection of the fisheries resource base through physical regulations (i.e. gear restrictions, closed seasons and protecting of breeding grounds and juveniles) is available for fisheries management, but the state of implementation of these measures are not known.

National fisheries inspection is established, but very little is known about their actual operations.

Economic measures for fisheries management are in use. The tax system may not entirely have been developed as part of a fisheries management system, but influences the behaviour of fishermen. The taxation includes: turnover tax, where fisheries are charged a rate of 2% on the value of the annual landing; and profit tax applicable to all corporations, although it is difficult to establish who is actually qualified for reductions and tax holidays. Agriculture land use tax applies to most planned aquaculture activities. Natural Resources Tax applies only to capture fisheries. Import-Export taxes are levied on fisheries products, favouring exports over imports. Registration Transfer Tax is applicable to all new fishing boats at the time of registration, followed by an annual licensing tax. This list of tax schemes may not be exhaustive, as a series of fees also prevail.

Tax incentive policy aiming at encouraging development of offshore fisheries was passed in 1993.

Role of public and private sector

Viet Nam is a socialist society with traditionally high participation from public authorities in the fishing industry. Most important are:

  • Fishing vessels are today often privately owned, as state activities in fisheries are decreasing. State-owned vessels might operate from the larger state-owned companies.

  • Prices on fish are established by a price commission, with lower and upper limits.

  • Domestic trade is most often done through private middlemen, which also involves some private credit facilities.

  • The processing sector is dominated by larger state- and province-owned companies (about 150) and a smaller number (38) of plants under various private sector schemes. A large number of privately owned local plants process only traditional products (i.e. fish sauce, fish paste and dried fish).

  • Foreign trade is licensed both to private and publicly owned companies. Dealers and foreign buyers are often involved in the transactions.

The Vietnamese society is basically adopting market-based development objectives as part of their strategies.

International cooperation in the region

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) was established with the signing, in Chiang Rai, Thailand, on 5 April 1995, of the Agreement on Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin. The Agreement was signed by the four riparian countries: Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand and Viet Nam. The Commission replaced the Mekong Committee established in 1957 and the Interim Mekong Committee established in 1978. The Commission's objective is to cooperate in the fields of sustainable development, utilization, management and conservation of the water and related resources of the Mekong River Basin.

The Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) was established under the agreement formulated at Banguio, Phillipines, on 26 February 1948, covering covering the Asian Pacific. APFIC’s functions are to promote full and proper utilization of living aquatic resources by the development and management of fishing and culture operations and by development of related processing and marketing activities in conformity with the objectives of its members. Current members of APFIC include Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America and Viet Nam.

Present role of fisheries in the national economy

Fisheries (including aquaculture) play an important role in the Vietnamese economy. Approx. 1 100 000 people are employed in the primary fishing sector, and an estimated 1.8 million in the secondary fishing industry (1996). This indicate that around 10% of the population derive their main income from the fishing industry. One-tenth of export earnings stem from fisheries products, worth US$ 512 million in 1995. Total agricultural GDP is estimated at US$ 8 100 million, of which fisheries accounted for some US$ 1 000 million (6.3% of total GDP in 1994). The relative contribution of fisheries to GDP has declined in recent years due to significant growth in especially the industrial sector. Development after the Asian recession of 1997 is not yet known.

Main fisheries regulations

Fisheries management in Viet Nam may be viewed as a two-tier system, where part of the responsibility lies with the provincial authorities and part with the Ministry of Fisheries. The latter has taken increasing responsibility for overall protection and enforcement during the 1990s.

The fisheries law system has been built up during the past 35 years. Important developments in protection of fisheries resources and their living environment include:

  • Registration and issuance of documents related to fisheries: licensing (over 80% of the boats in marine fisheries), export-import of fish seed, fish feed, veterinary drugs, etc.

  • Establishment of fisheries protection and inspection (Decision No. 130-CT, 20 April 1991; Decision No. 187-TS/QD; Decision No 415-TTg 19 August 1994). The fishery resource protection and inspection organization has commences its activities in the provinces and a new organization with fisheries inspection boats is now in force. Hazardous practices (explosives, electricity and chemicals for catching fish) have reportedly decreased.

  • Management of aquaculture has led to regulations of seed resources, drugs and feed, general management of aquaculture to increase efficiency and safeguard the environment, and epidemiological inspection of aquatic animals and animal products.

  • Management of quality and quality assurance has been established through Decision No. 648-TS/QD 26 August 1994 and Decision No 569-QD-TC 5 July 1995.

  • The administrative outline for foreign nationals fishing in Vietnamese waters are managed through Decree No 49/1998/ND-CP of 13 July 1998.

The Ordinance framework does not represent a suitable framework of modern legislative character. This is realized by the Government and implementation of a modern law system is under consideration.

Apart from the Decrees issued by the Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries, fisheries management is directly influenced by the tax system (economic incentives as well as disincentives have been introduced as part of fisheries management) under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Finance and the import/export regulations issued by the Minister of Trade, as well as the regulations issued by the Minister of Technology and Environment.

Organizational structure of national fisheries authority

The principal responsibility for fisheries lies with the Ministry of Fisheries and its associated departments, state companies and institutions, as indicated in the chart. The main tasks include control and coordination of fisheries activities in the country, and the supervision of state-owned companies. Under the Ministry of Fisheries are the provincial, district and village Fisheries Authorities within the Peoples Committee, which basically organize fisheries in their own jurisdiction. It is not clear how responsibilities and decision making are shared between the different administrative levels.

The Ministry of Fisheries is entrusted with the responsibility for compiling the Vietnamese fisheries statistics. This is done through collaboration with the Provincial Fisheries Department.

The organizational structure is shown below.

Fisheries Statistics and Planning Organization Chart

Further the Province Fisheries Departments prepare a yearly report, which include both the statistics as well as future plans on the fisheries.