The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed the Statute Governing Investment and Management of Non-Taiwanese Fishing Boats (投資經營非我國籍漁船管理條例), which prohibits anyone from investing in non-Taiwanese fishing boats without a permit from the agricultural authorities.
Those who make such an investment without first obtaining a permit may be fined between NT$300,000 (US$8,950) and NT$1.5 million.
Under the new law, authorities will also be able to investigate any fishing irregularities by requiring fishing boat investors to present investment details.
Any Taiwanese national found to be involved in fish laundering — an illegal act to cover up overfishing — could be jailed from six months to three years and fined up to NT$30 million, while those entering the fishing business overseas without a permit may be sentenced to three years in prison and fined up to NT$10 million.
Those who commit these offenses abroad are subject to punishment in Taiwan, even if the acts are legal where they take place. Violators’ catch and equipment will also be confiscated.
The bill also includes a resolution urging the Council of Agriculture and the Fisheries Agency to engage in international negotiations for a “buffer zone” so the local fishing industry can gradually adjust the average size of its tuna catch.
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas sanctioned the nation’s deep-sea fishing industry in 2004 and 2005 for dodging the fishing limits by investing in non-Taiwanese fishing boats.