Taiwan and the Philippines on Thursday reached an agreement on several fishery cooperation proposals during a meeting in Manila, Representative to the Philippines Gary Lin (林松煥) said.
In the third Taiwan-Philippines technical meeting on fishery affairs, representatives from Manila promised to push for the legislation of a sea-land passage bill that would allow fishing boats from Taiwan or other countries passage through Philippines-controlled archipelagos, Lin said.
Such a bill would help to reduce fishing disputes, Lin said, adding that the fishery meetings have helped boost relations between Taiwan and the Philippines and their cooperation in law enforcement efforts related to fishing.
Thanks to the meetings, which began in 2015 under the principle that at least one meeting should held each year, the two nations have gradually established mutual trust in law enforcement aimed at protecting fishermen’s rights and interests, and have seen their friendship deepened, Lin said.
During Thursday’s meeting, delegates agreed on proposals to promote fishing regulations, complete the mutual reporting mechanism, establish a communication hotline, assist Taiwanese fishing boats seeking passage through the Philippines’ territorial waters, share fishery information and jointly crack down on illegal fishing, Lin said.
Taiwan and the Philippines signed a fishery agreement in 2015, two years after a Taiwanese fisherman was killed in May 2013 when a Philippine Coast Guard vessel fired on his family’s fishing boat in waters that both nations consider part of their exclusive-economic zones.
The incident triggered a diplomatic row, but eventually led to negotiations over how to avoid similar incidents in the future.
Under the pact, the two sides organized their own panels, which hold at least one meeting a year to discuss fishery law enforcement.
The first meeting was held in Taipei in November 2015, and the second took place in March last year, also in Taipei.
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