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Vietnam sets up marine unit to protect fishermen, resources

Fishermen in the south central province of Phu Yen with a tuna catch 

The Vietnamese government will establish a Fisheries Management Department next month to patrol the seas, protect fishermen, and generally enforce the law.

The unit will start operating from January 25 under the Directorate of Fisheries.

Luu Van Huy, head of the directorate's Inspection and Legislation Department, was quoted by Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper Tuesday as saying the new department would be a "civilian" force whose job would include protecting marine resources.

To be assisted by soldiers, they will make sure certain fishing areas are used for the right purposes, in the right seasons, and by licensed fishermen.

Its inspectors will check if the fishing nets follow requirements related to knot size, and combat the use of electricity, poison, and explosives for fishing.

They can impose cash penalties on violators and even suspend fishing.

The unit will represent the Vietnamese government to inspect foreign boats in Vietnamese waters and impose penalties if required, and protect Vietnamese fishermen in foreign waters.

Dr Tran Cong Truc, former head of a government archives containing sovereignty documents, said the unit would also assist the Coast Guard and Navy in protecting the country's sovereignty.

Chinese aggression in Vietnam's eastern waters has been on the rise recently. Many of their boats have attacked Vietnamese fishermen, including with weapons, and held Vietnamese fishermen and their boats for ransom.


Last July a fleet of 30 fishing vessels from China's island province of Hainan came to fishing grounds in the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands belonging to Vietnam with the protection of a naval patrol boat.

The new unit will have well-equipped boats that can stay for days at sea and operate in winds of up to level 9 or 88 kilometers per hour.

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