Rapacious and indiscriminate fishing methods used by Chinese fishing vessels are not only damaging the marine ecology in Taiwanese territorial waters, but are also depriving Taiwanese fishermen of their source of livelihood, the Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said.
While amendments passed in June last year increasing fines deterred Chinese fishing boats for a short time, with the number of Chinese fishing boats in the area dropping from 277 in 2014 to 79 last year, poachers have been acting in concert of late, the administration said.
Chinese ships were using bad weather to their advantage to fish illegally in Taiwanese waters, making it more difficult for the coast guard to board their ships, the CGA said, adding that a large number of vessels entered Taiwanese fishing grounds in August and used electrofishing, triple-layered gillnets, roller trawls and even poison to catch fish.
Photo: Wu Cheng-feng, Taipei Times
The administration said that in March it stopped a Chinese ship named Ching Ching Fishing 05055 south of the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) and found three green sea turtles, 15,000kg of coral, 400kg of giant clams and tadpole snails, as well as 40kg of toxic chemicals onboard.
Captain Huang Hsuan-kai (黃宣凱), head of the administration’s patrol force in Kinmen, said Chinese fishing boats scoured fishing grounds so thoroughly that they could in one night deprive other fishermen of a catch for three days.
Academia Sinica researcher Cheng Ming-hsiu (鄭明修) said fishing zones around the Pratas Islands and Penghu were the most severely damaged, as they were frequented by illegal fishermen from China and Vietnam.
In the past five years, the CGA has driven Chinese ships away from the two zones more than 700 times, Cheng said, adding that 90 percent of fishing resources in the region have vanished in the past 30 years.
Strong action must be taken to defend waters within 3 nautical miles (5.5km) of the coast, as such areas are typically the zones where fish and shrimp lay their eggs, Cheng said.
A recent spike in the number of crabs and shrimp in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) and Penghu shows that fish that eat young shrimp and crabs are disappearing, Cheng said, adding that if allowed to continue, the food chain would be disrupted.
Keelung Coastal Fishing Association director Lin Hsin-yung (林新永) said that Chinese ships often electrified their roller trawls, which causes great damage to marine life, as well as coral.
Lin said he had heard Chinese fishermen say that they were fishing in Taiwanese waters because their own coastal fishing supplies were running low due to the over-use of blast-fishing techniques.
Lin added that some Chinese ships try to get a cut from Taiwanese fishermen by trying to “muscle” their way into Taiwanese boats to get a share by force.
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
CAUTION: Wearing a mask in crowded places and for people with chronic illnesses or allergies can help prevent COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, the CECC said The mask mandate for outdoor settings is to lifted on Thursday, and the weekly cap on international inbound travelers is to be removed on Dec. 10, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said at its regular news conference yesterday. The center also announced that starting from Friday, children aged five to 11 can receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster, and that rules for visiting hospital patients are to be partially eased from Dec. 10. While wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory outdoors, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) reminded the public that it would still be required
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: China might impose a blockade, conduct limited force operations, use an air and missile campaign, or resort to an invasion, the report said The US Department of Defense has identified four possible military courses of action that China could take against Taiwan, but did not offer any guess on when Beijing might be ready to act. In an annual report to the US Congress released on Tuesday titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2022, the department gave a broad overview of China’s military capabilities, strategy, ambitions and intentions. The report devoted significant space to developments related to Taiwan, against which it said China had intensified diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure last year. For example, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
ANALYSIS: The local elections showed that the KMT is a competitive player, but needs to work at changing its image regarding China, experts said The nine-in-one local election results would bolster the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but are unlikely to have a major effect on the 2024 presidential election, when cross-strait issues are back in focus, political commentators said. In Saturday’s elections, the KMT won 13 of the 21 cities and counties up for grabs, including four of the country’s six biggest metropolitan areas, where nearly 70 percent of the population lives. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lost three of the seven cities and counties it held, although it gained Penghu County. Its poor results prompted President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to announce her resignation as party