Placing a 3m-long, missile-shaped fish aggregating device in front of the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) building, the Taipei chapter of Greenpeace staged a protest yesterday, urging the council’s Fisheries Bureau to present solutions to protect fish resources from further depletion.
The group said eight illegal fish aggregating devices — objects, such as buoys, that are used to attract fish — were found in the western and central Pacific by the Greenpeace vessel Esperenza during an expedition in the Pacific Ocean between September and December last year. This -appears to show that there are still loopholes in the current ocean management measures, the group added.
The group called for a total ban on the use of fish aggregating devices and the establishment of marine reserves to help conserve the ocean.
Taiwan Greenpeace oceans campaigner Yen Ning (顏寧) said the decision to reopen some high-seas pockets for fishing, made at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s annual meeting, which officials from the Fisheries Bureau had attended last week, was a setback for ocean conservation.
The group also invited the minister and other officials to board the Esperenza, now docked at Keelung Harbor, and urged them to present eco-friendly fishing policies as soon as possible.
Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Tsay Tzu-yaw (蔡日耀) said the bureau has conformed with the decisions made by the commission, and it would support methods that can improve fishermen’s livelihoods and boost the sustainability of fish resources.
Responding to the group’s demand that the bureau take an active role in fisheries management since Taiwan has the most vessels — more than 1,600 — in the area, Tsay said despite the large number of ships, Taiwan still has only one vote in the commission.