A government proposal to participate in international regulations to implement fishery management in the South Pacific in the capacity of a “fishing entity” under the name “Chinese Taipei” was preliminarily ratified by the legislature yesterday.
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) signed the Instrument for the Participation of Fishing Entities in January, which signaled Taiwan’s intention to join the regime established by the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean.
Although Taiwan handed the instrument over to the New Zealand government on Jan. 31, it required ratification by the legislature.
The convention of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation underpins the management of non-migratory fish species in the region, including deep-sea fish stocks, such as orange roughy, and pelagic species, such as the jack mackerel.
Despite various concerns expressed by lawmakers at the legislature’s Foreign and Defense Committee over the signing of the convention, it ultimately cleared the committee without objection.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators questioned whether Taiwan would be treated as an equal member, as the country is denied the right to run for the chair or vice chair posts in the organization, to confirm the appointment of the director-general or to vote on amendments to the convention.
“It seems we would not be entitled to exert our rights as a sovereign nation in the organization,” DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said.
DPP Legislator Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) asked why Taiwan was unable to secure the same rights it enjoyed in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, which are similar conventions.
For his part, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said the legislature should put the ratification on hold, as “major fishing countries such as Japan, the US and the EU are all in no hurry to participate.”
“I oppose ratification unless other major fishing countries all agree to the convention. The earlier you participate, the more you are subject to the regulations,” Ting said. “We don’t need to join just to participate in an international organization.”