The Fisheries Agency yesterday announced it will provide an annual bonus of NT$1 million (US$30,000) a year to college graduates in marine-related subjects if they finish the first year of the agency’s program to encourage young people to work on long-distance fishing vessels.
The agency said the fishing industry is important to Taiwan, but in recent years, young people have been unwilling to work on ocean-going fishing vessels because it is perceived as difficult, dangerous work.
To tackle a shortage of high-quality talent in the industry, the bonus program was initiated in 2000, but the results were disappointing, the agency said, adding that after adjustments, the quota of six people each year to join the program has been met since 2008.
Following yesterday’s announcement, once qualified participants finish their first year of service on fishing vessels, they will receive a NT$1 million bonus, which they are allowed to receive for a maximum of three years.
Fisheries Agency Director-General James Sha (沙志一) said that if six people join the program each year, that would equal 60 participants in 10 years, and if half of these people remain in the industry, then there will be at least 30 well-trained individuals to boost the quality of fishing crews.
“There are more and more regulations that various international fisheries management organizations have set for long-distance fishing operations. If we cannot improve the quality of crewmembers, then we will be reprimanded for violating regulations, so we think the bonus is money well spent,” Sha said.
He said crew members nowadays need foreign-language skills and specialized knowledge.
So far, three participants in the program have qualified as captains, eight as chief officers and one as a chief engineer, the agency said.
Participants can also receive extra dividends from boat companies according to the size of the catches they make, it said, adding that the closing date for entries is Aug. 15.