Mon, Nov 21, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Commission slashes tuna quota

NO FISHING An international group put the brakes on Taiwan's allowable catch of bigeye tuna, which had been 14,900 tonnes annually. It will now be only 4,600 tonnes

CNA , TAIPEI

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) resolved yesterday to cut Taiwan's total allowable catch (TAC) of tuna for next year and ask Taiwan to improve management of its ocean-going fishing fleets as well.

On the last day of the ICCAT's Commission meeting held in Seville, Spain, Nov. 14-20, the ICCAT commission passed a Japanese proposal to cut Taiwan's TAC of bigeye tuna from the current 14,900 tonnes annually to only 4,600 tonnes for next year, in an effort to stem overfishing in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Taiwan is a contracting party of the ICCAT.

The resolution also said the commission will review Taiwan's practice again in November 2006 to see whether management of Taiwan's tuna fishing fleets has been improved or not.

Responding to the latest development, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said that Taiwan will cope with the resolution by reducing tuna catches gradually.

Hsieh, who was in Kaohsiung to stump for the Democratic Progress Party candidate for the election of Penghu County chief, admitted, however, that the ICCAT resolution will deal a severe blow to Taiwan's deep sea fishing businesses.

To make Taiwan a responsible member of the global village, Hsieh said the government has since last year helped downsize Taiwan's tuna fleet. It is hoped that 200 ocean-going longliners will be scrapped within two years to help conserve the world's tuna population and related resources, he added.

To do that, according to officials from the Council of Agriculture, the government will spend NT$4 billion to offset dismantling of the vessels.

The scrapping of the boats will be mandatory and the vessels' licenses will be repealed automatically, council officials said.

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