The Fisheries Agency on Friday said that 15 amendments to three fishery acts are to take effect on Friday next week as planned.
The measures are part of the government’s bid to get Taiwan removed from the EU’s fishery watch list of nations that it says have not done enough to prevent illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
The agency discussed the amendments to the acts with visiting officials from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to ensure that they are adequate, Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Huang Hung-yan (黃鴻燕) said.
The officials urged Taiwan to present an action plan on enforcing the 15 amendments after they are implemented and said the EU would decide whether to remove Taiwan from the watch list based on how the measures are carried out, the Deep Sea Fisheries Division said.
In October 2015, the European Commission gave Taiwan a “yellow card” and warned that the nation risks being identified as uncooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The warning followed a Greenpeace report that a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Shuen De Ching No. 888, had been seen illegally harvesting shark fins and throwing the finned sharks back into the water near Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific.
If the issue is not addressed by the end of March, Taiwan would risk the imposition of EU trade sanctions.
To step up the nation’s efforts against illegal fishing by deep-sea vessels, the Legislative Yuan passed the Act Governing Distant Water Fisheries (遠洋漁業條例) and amended the Fisheries Act (漁業法) and the Act to Govern Investment in the Operation of Foreign Flag Fishing Vessels (投資經營非我國籍漁船管理條例) last year.
Under the terms of the measures, if convicted of illegal fishing, vessels of more than 500 tonnes may be fined from NT$6 million to NT$30 million (US$189,861 to US$949,307), while those from 100 tonnes to 500 tonnes could be fined from NT$4 million to NT$20 million.
Vessels between 50 tonnes and 100 tonnes may be fined from NT$2 million to NT$10 million, while those under 50 tonnes may be fined from NT$1 million to NT$5 million.
Repeat offenders may face fines of up to NT$45 million.
In addition to the fines, the operators and fishermen may have their licenses recalled or revoked.
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