Wed, May 08, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan and EU discuss fishers’ rights protection

CHALLENGES:Experts at the workshop agreed that fair recruitment, adequate monitoring and inspection are critical to the effective promoting of fishers’ rights

Staff writer, with CNA

Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Chen Tian-shou, fifth left, and officials attend a Taiwan-EU workshop on working and living conditions for fishers in Kaohsiung on Monday.

Photo: CNA

Taiwanese and EU representatives exchanged views and experiences on how to advance the rights of fishers working aboard Taiwanese deep-sea fishing vessels during a two-day workshop that concluded yesterday in Kaohsiung, the EU’s representative office in Taiwan said

More than 60 participants from public administration, the fishing industry, unions, society and academia addressed the challenges and solutions for ensuring decent working conditions for fishing crews, the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) said in a press release.

“The EU considers Taiwan a like-minded partner in advancing human rights and we look forward to continue promoting human rights with Taiwan,” EETO head Madeleine Majorenko said.

The workshop was a follow-up to the first EU-Taiwan Human Rights Consultation that took place in Taipei in March last year.

This year’s consultation is to take place in Brussels in the middle of this month, the office said.

Fishing is recognized as one of the most hazardous and high-risk occupations, it said.

“The migrant background of many fishermen further exacerbates their risk of falling victim to discrimination, abuse or exploitation,” it said.

“These challenges make it important to ensure that the fishing sector is subject to effective labor legislation that will protect fishermen, and will help make the profession attractive and sustainable,” it added.

Presentations from the EU and Taiwanese experts, along with subsequent discussions, identified that “fair recruitment, placement, adequate monitoring and inspection,” are the major challenges for effective enforcement of fishers’ fundamental rights.

The workshop was meant to allow both sides to better understand each other’s systems and regulations, and share experiences in how to carry out inspections to make sure they are being carried out properly, Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Lin Kuo-ping (林國平) said.

It was held at a time when local and international human rights groups have called for action to prevent abuses of migrant fishers, particularly after British non-governmental organization the Environmental Justice Foundation found during an investigation last year that crews on Taiwan-registered vessels have been subjected to assaults, are underpaid and overworked.

Taiwanese fishers and government authorities are also hoping that the EU would lift the “yellow card” it issued against Taiwan in 2015 for lack of cooperation in fighting illegal fishing.

The EU placed Taiwan on its watch list for insufficient cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in October 2015.

Since then, EU officials have visited the country every six months to see how the issues are being addressed.

Majorenko said that EU inspectors have underlined the need for Taiwan’s government to better protect fishers’ rights.

This story has been viewed 1986 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top