The Fisheries Agency yesterday unveiled an updated national action plan to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds in the nation’s longline tuna fisheries to protect albatrosses and petrels, among others.
The agency said that, as one of the major tuna longline fisheries countries in the world, Taiwan has more than 1,000 longline vessels operating across three oceans that unintentionally affect seabird populations.
To reduce the bycatch of seabirds during fishing, the agency said that it developed the first edition of its National Plan of Action on Seabirds in 2006 in accordance with that adopted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
Photo: Hsieh Wen-hua, Taipei Times
The agency updated its plan this year.
Fisheries Agency Director-General James Sha (沙志一) said that the agency has instructed fishing vessels to install two “bird-scaring” lines since 2006, reducing seabird bycatch by 50 percent.
He said that the new edition of the action plan would also require vessels to select at least two of the three other chosen methods to further reduce incidents of seabird bycatch.
Apart from installation of bird-scaring lines, fishing vessels might install weighted branch lines or choose to set up baits at night.
Nanhua University assistant professor Yeh Yu-min (葉裕民) said that the long-distance fishing fleet first extend a main fishing line, and the baits, such as pacific saury, are hung on the hooks of branch lines under the main line.
She said that albatrosses and other seabirds quickly eat those baits before the branch lines are submerged, adding that the hooks on the branches could result in the unintended catch of these birds. Unable to get themselves off the hooks, the birds drown.
“The bird-scaring lines will cause the birds to fly away from the fishing boats,” she said. “The branch lines will go under the sea faster if they are attached with lead blocks.”
Setting baits at night would prevent seabirds from approaching because they cannot see the baits, the agency said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,