The wife of Taiwanese fisherman Tsai Po (蔡波) yesterday questioned statements issued by the Fisheries Agency and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) on Thursday night that her husband had been arrested for trespassing in Philippine territorial waters.
Shih Li-hua (施麗華) told reporters that Manila cannot prove that Tsai was fishing in Philippine territorial waters simply based on what he caught, adding that her husband usually dived into the waters instead of using fishing gear to catch fish.
“How can Philippine coast guards say that Tsai was trespassing and fishing without showing photographs of Tsai in the act of diving or fishing,” Shih asked.
Fisheries Agency Director-General James Sha (沙志一) told a press conference on Thursday night that Tsai’s vessel was intercepted within the 12 nautical miles (22.2km) territorial waters of the Philippines — contradicting a statement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday morning that Tsai was fishing in waters claimed by Taiwan and the Philippines.
Sha said the Philippines had given Taiwan its preliminary investigation into the fishing dispute on Thursday afternoon, in which it said that the fishing vessel was caught 40m off Ditarem Island in Itbayat, Batanes, the northernmost islands of the Philippines, and that 36.7kg of lobsters and marine snakes, along with fishing gear, diving goggles and spears used in fishing were found on the boat.
According to the CGA’s statement, the fishing vessel was positioned at 21 degrees, 7 minutes north latitude and 121 degrees, 57 minutes east longitude.
Tsai has been kept in custody since he was arrested. He had an ankle injury.
Sha said that Tsai could be released after paying a fine of up to US$50,000.