Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Fishermen told to obey international laws

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The Fisheries Agency yesterday called on fishermen and companies to observe international laws as it reaffirmed its commitment to combating illegal fishing, after it failed to have the European Commission rescind the “yellow card” it issued the nation in October 2015.

Since the EU regulation to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing took effect on Jan. 1, 2010, the commission has taken steps against states that ignore illegal fishing activities by issuing a warning and then blacklisting them if they do not make corrections.

Taiwan’s yellow card was due to inadequate efforts to combat illegal fishing.

Commission officials visited Taiwan in October last year and again last month to inspect efforts the agency and industry have made, but decided to kept the nation on the warning list.

They said the nation’s implementation of the law was ineffective, agency Director-General Huang Hung-yan (黃鴻燕) told a news conference at an around-the-clock Fisheries Monitoring Center in Taipei.

They also suggested the agency improve its management of the fisheries trade, which they said was not transparent enough, Huang said.

The nation has about 1,200 fishing boats engaged in distant-sea fishing, whose total annual revenue is about NT$43.8 billion (US$1.48 billion), making up 83 percent of the nation’s maritime fishing industry, Deep Sea Fisheries Division Deputy Director Wang Mao-chen (王茂城) said.

From January until Thursday last week, the council has imposed NT$43.82 million in fines on 19 vessels for breaching regulations, Wang said.

Six were fined for not reporting or misreporting their daily catches through an e-logbook, three were fined for unclear ship identification and three for illegally hiring foreign personnel, agency data show.

The owner of the Shun De Man (順得滿)No. 66 received a record fine of NT$12 million for concealing the boat’s location on its vessel monitoring system and had his fishing license revoked, Wang said.

The vessel’s system showed the boat was in Penang Port, Malaysia, from July last year to Feb. 15, but the agency’s automatic identification system showed that it had actually departed for Singapore in January, Wang said.

Even though the agency has improved its facilities, it failed to close management loopholes, such as illegal transfer of catches to ships flying flags of convenience, Greenpeace Taiwan said yesterday.

It needs to make more diligent checks of ship registrations and require each vessel to obtain a maritime mobile service identity code or International Maritime Organization reference number, the group said, urging it to work more closely with other nations and non-governmental organizations to fight IUU fishing.

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