Japan detains third Taiwanese fishing boat in 10 days

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, May 24, 2013 - Page 3

The third Taiwanese fishing boat in 10 days was detained yesterday by the Japan Coast Guard in waters surrounding the Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa Prefecture, and released after paying a fine of more than ¥4 million (US$39,344).

James Sha (沙志一), director-general of the Fisheries Agency, yesterday called on Taiwanese fishermen to operate only within designated waters covered by the Taiwan-Japan fisheries accord.

Japan Coast Guard vessels have increased their patrols to crack down on illegal fishing since the accord took effect on May 10, which allows fishermen from both sides to work without interference in designated areas surrounding the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), known as the Senkakus in Japan.

The Fu Chang No. 168, a 46.29 tonne tuna long-line fishing boat registered in Nanfangau (南方澳), was arrested by a patrol ship from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, at 2:10am yesterday, according to information published by the ministry.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said yesterday the boat with eight crew members, including the skipper, was released at 1:30pm.

The boat had been operating in waters off the Yaeyama Islands, she said.

Previously, the Cheng Chan Fa No. 2 was arrested on May 14 in waters south of Japan’s Sakishima Islands, Okinawa, followed by the Jui Ming Fa on Monday in waters south of the Yaeyama Islands.