Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Third fishing commission meeting with Japan urged

Staff writer, with CNA

The government is hoping to hold a third fishing commission meeting with Japan soon to address regulation of fishing operations in the nations’ overlapping waters in the East China Sea, Association of East Asian Relations Secretary-General Lo Koon-tsan (羅坤燦) said yesterday.

The association is responsible for handling ties with Japan.

The goal is to establish order in a designated area of the East China Sea in which Taiwanese and Japanese fishermen are allowed to operate freely, Lo said.

The first meeting took place in Taipei in May last year, while the second was in Tokyo on Dec. 26.

During last month’s meeting, the two sides remained divided on fishing operations in overlapping waters, but agreed to continue negotiating, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The Tokyo talks came after representatives from fishermen’s associations from both countries met in Yilan County for talks last month to discuss their different fishing methods.

One key point was the direction fishing lines are deployed and the distance between longline fishing boats when they are operating in the overlapping waters.

The Japanese side proposed that fishing boats set their lines in a north-south direction and maintain a distance of 4 nautical miles (7.4km) between each boat.

The Taiwanese side, which has more fishing boats in the area, wanted to keep its traditional approach of deploying lines in an east-west direction and a 1 nautical mile (1.8km) distance between boats.

The Taiwan-Japan fishing commission was established after the two nations signed a pact on April 10 last year on fishing rights in the East China Sea near the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), which Japan calls the Senkaku Islands.

Under the terms of the deal, Taiwanese and Japanese boats can operate freely in a 74,300km2 area around the Diaoyutais, the Fisheries Agency said.

That gives Taiwanese fishermen an additional 4,530km2 in which they can operate free of harassment, the agency said.

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