Vietnam swordfish - handline

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Overview

Sea Delight, Hong Ngoc Seafood, and CeDePesca are implementing the Vietnam swordfish – handline FIP with the goal of attaining an MSC-certifiable status for the fishery by December 2024.

Swordfish is a highly migratory species of fish found throughout most of the world’s oceans. This FIP focuses on the Western and Central North Pacific Ocean (WCNPO) swordfish stock, under the management of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), fished by the Vietnamese handline fishery.

The Vietnamese handline fishery began operating in late 2011. The fishery primarily targets large tunas — such as yellowfin and bigeye — in offshore areas within the Vietnam Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ), although swordfish and other large pelagic species are also taken. Fishing is conducted on wooden handline vessels with a length of 15 to 23m carrying four to 6 fishers, including master.  Handliners attract fish using bait (mostly squid or small scads) and lights, with vessels usually operating up to four lines, each with two hooks.

The fishing fleet is composed of 2,000+ handline vessels.  The vessels are licensed at the provincial level but any management measures (i.e. capacity management and operational restrictions) are generally imposed at a national level.  All fishing currently occurs within the Vietnam EEZ.

All catch is initially landed in Vietnam, with higher quality catch exported as both whole fish and processed product. The remainder is retained for local consumption and processing.

Key problems/issues at the beginning of the FIP:

According to the MSC Pre-Assessment of the fishery (MRAG 2017), the main obstacles to sustainability were:

  • No explicit limit or target reference points are defined by which to manage the exploitation of the stock more robustly.
  • There is not a well-defined harvest control rule in place for swordfish, although there are rules and management tools available from other fisheries in the Western Central Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC) area for reducing catch or effort in the swordfish fishery should critical limits be approached.
  • Currently, there is not sufficient information to rule out the finning of sharks.
  • There is poor information on catches in the fishery.
  • There is little information regarding bycatch and ETP species in the fishery.
  • The fishery management system in Vietnam does not explicitly embody the precautionary approach and certain provisions of conservation and management of the WCPFC need to be addressed by the national legislation.  
  • There are no fishery-specific objectives for swordfish at the national level.
  • There is no management plan for the fishery.
  • There are shortcomings in addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the country.
FIP Description 

Sea Delight, Hong Ngoc Seafood, and CeDePesca are implementing the Vietnam swordfish – handline FIP with the goal of attaining an MSC-certifiable status for the fishery by December 2024.

FIP Objective(s) 

The ultimate objective of this FIP is to achieve the fishery’s certifiable status against the MSC standard by the end of December 2024.   To this purpose, the FIP has updated its specific objectives as follows:

  • [COMPLETE] To adopt explicit limit or target reference points for the swordfish stocks by January 2021.
  • [COMPLETE] To design and adopt a well-defined harvest control rule by January 2021.
  • To ensure the adoption of a national Management plan for swordfish in line with WCPFC harvest strategy by December 2024.
  • To continue improving data collection in the fishery until December 2024.
  • [COMPLETE] To assess the impacts of the Vietnamese handline fleet over other ecosystem components, such as bycatch species and endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species by July 2022.
  • To ensure the adoption of a fins-naturally-attached policy for sharks by December 2023.
  • To better address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by December 2024.
  • To achieve an MSC-certifiable status in a socially responsible way by December 2024.
FIP Type 
Comprehensive
FIP Stage 
Stage 5: Improvements on the Water
Start and Projected End Dates
October 2018
December 2024
Update 
[14 May 2022] The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects in Vietnam hindered the implementation of some of the FIP activities. As a response, and considering the results of the independent 3-yr audit conducted in 2022, FIP partners have updated the FIP Action Plan, including its timeline.
Next Progress Report Due 
Monday, October 31, 2022
Species 
Common Name 
Swordfish
Scientific Name
Xiphias gladius
Gear Type 
Handline
Location
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 71 (Pacific, Western Central)
Exclusive Economic Zones
Country 
Viet Nam
Geographic Scope 
Primarily, waters off the provinces of Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa, and Phu Yen
Regional Fisheries Management Organization
WCPFC
High Seas Name 
Pacific Ocean
Landings
Estimated Total FIP Landings 
200 metric tons
Estimated Total Fishery Landings 
634 metric tons
Landings Date 
December 2018
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FIP at a Glance

7% 36% 57%
October 01, 2018
32% 39% 29%
Progress Rating (A) Advanced Progress

Reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result within the past 12 months.

(B) Good Progress

A basic FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result within 12 months.

(C) Some Recent Progress
  • A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months AND has reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.
  • A FIP younger than 12 months that has never achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result but has reported a Stage 3 activity within the first 12 months.
(D) Some Past Progress
  • A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months BUT has not reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.
  • A FIP for which the most recent Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 36) months old AND a Stage 3 activity has been reported within six months.
  • A FIP 12-36 months old that has never reported a Stage 4 or 5 result AND has reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.
(E) Negligible Progress
  • A FIP for which the most recent Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 36) months old, with no Stage 3 activity reported in the last six months.
  • A FIP younger than 12 months with no Stage 3 activity reported within 12 months.
  • A FIP 12-36 months old that has never reported a Stage 4 or 5 result AND has not reported a Stage 3 activity within the past six months.

The ratings are currently derived by SFP from publicly available data on FIP websites, including FisheryProgress.org, and are determined using the following methodology: View PDF

A Advanced Progress
Actions Complete

This pie chart represents completed environmental actions. Non-completed environmental actions may contain completed sub-tasks that are not illustrated here. For more information on environmental action progress visit the Actions Progress tab.

  • Complete
  • Incomplete
Next Update Due FisheryProgress requires a FIP to provide update reports every six months, and two missed reports will render the FIP inactive. If a report is overdue, this date will appear red.
Oct 2022
Target End Date
Dec 2024
Additional Impacts:
Traceability

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
Sea Delight
Organization Type 
Industry
Primary Contact 
Stephen Fisher
Organization Name 
Hong Ngoc Seafood
Organization Type 
Industry
Primary Contact 
Yen Nguyen
Organization Name 
CeDePesca
Organization Type 
NGO
Primary Contact 
Gabriela Mc Lean
FIP Identification Number The FIP Identification Number is automatically generated by FisheryProgress when a FIP profile is created. While the number itself is not meaningful, they are used by NGOs, academia, and industry to refer to FIPs in a consistent way.
10260