Lawmakers on the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday expressed support for Taiwan joining the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC), a yet-to-established treaty-based regional organization that would regulate all deep sea fisheries in the northern Pacific Ocean.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Ko (柯森耀) told the committee that Taiwan would submit an “instrument of acceptance” of the North Pacific Fisheries Convention and a “written instrument” — once the legislature approves the documents — so Taiwan could become a member of the organization when the convention enters into force, which is expected to be in the middle of next year.
With the committee’s endorsement, the documents will be placed on the agenda for a second and third reading before the full legislature.
Representative to South Korea Benjamin Liang (梁英斌) signed the instrument to participate in the NPFC — as a “fishing entity” — at the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul in February, Ko said.
Taiwan was the third country to sign the convention, following the US and Japan, but it would be the only party to participate in the organization as a fishing entity, under the name “Chinese Taipei,” and not as a contracting party, he said.
Taiwan was invited to engage in negotiations, which began in 2009 and initially involved the US, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Canada and China, leading to the convention being concluded in March 2011. The convention has been open for signature since April last year.
The convention does not prejudice the rights and obligations of contracting parties and fishing entities, except that chairperson and vice chairpersons shall be elected from contracting parties only, Ko said, but Taiwan can exercise voting rights.
The nomenclature Taiwan will use in the NPFC is similar to its participation in organizations such as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean, and the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization, Ko said.
Ko said that Taiwan will make cases for membership in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and in regional fisheries bodies in the Atlantic Ocean. At present, Taiwan can only participate in the IOTC as an “invited expert,” he said.