Mon, May 08, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Beijing urged to educate fishermen after incursion

Staff Writer, with CNA

A Coast Guard Administration vessel pursues an unmarked fishing boat from Nanao County in China’s Guangdong Province that was illegally fishing in waters west of Penghu on Friday.

Photo: CNA, courtesy of Maritime Patrol Offshore Flotilla 8

China must improve the education of its fishermen and stop them from trespassing into Taiwanese waters, the government said on Saturday after two Chinese fishermen were injured resisting Coast Guard Administration (CGA) orders near Penghu.

The fishermen’s boat, which had departed from Nanao Island in Guangdong Province, was detected 23 nautical miles (42.6km) west of Penghu’s westernmost Huayu Islet (花嶼) at about 5:20am, the coast guard said.

The boat refused to stop for inspection, despite several warnings, it said.

Coast guard personnel fired rubber bullets to force the boat to stop, injuring two crew members in the leg, the coast guard said.

The fishermen were sent to a hospital for treatment and are in stable condition, it added.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) expressed “indignation” over what it called Taiwan’s “seizure and arrest for no good reasons.”

“We demand Taiwan to immediately launch an investigation into this incident, release the crew and the boat as soon as possible, and prevent similar incidents,” TAO spokesman An Fengshan (安峰山) said.

The Mainland Affairs Council said China has imposed a moratorium on its fishing boats entering Taiwanese waters, but cannot stop them from violating the rules.

“Mainland fishing boats have violated Taiwanese law and repeatedly engaged in illegal fishing, seriously affecting Taiwanese fishermen’s rights and interests,” the council said.

The CGA said its patrols last year chased away 1,325 trespassing Chinese fishing boats and seized 108.

This year it had already driven away 346 Chinese fishing boats and taken 36 into custody as of the end of last month, the CGA added.

In January, the captain of a Fujian-based fishing boat, had three fingers severed while trying to prevent coast guard personnel inspecting his boat and in February, another Fujian-based boat rammed a CGA vessel.

The CGA said it has repeatedly requested that China rein in its fishing boats in accordance with a cross-strait agreement on joint efforts to combat crime, but the calls went unheeded.

It said it will continue to enforce the law.

Saturday’s seizure was not for “no good reason,” the CGA said.

The government has raised the maximum fine for trespassing to NT$10 million (US$331,323) in a bid to prevent incursions into the nation’s waters by foreign vessels.

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