Forced labor, human rights abuses and illegal fishing practices continue to mar Taiwan’s deep-sea fishing industry, a new report by Greenpeace East Asia shows, Greenpeace Taiwan said yesterday as it called on the government to take legal action to end such abuses.
Choppy Waters — Forced Labour and Illegal Fishing in Taiwan’s Distant Water Fisheries details the results of a two-month investigation, including interviews with Indonesian migrant fishers working on vessels flagged or otherwise connected to Taiwan.
According to interview with four Indonesian fishers, six of the 11 International Labour Organization (ILO) indicators of forced labor were met, such as the lack of clean drinking water, being required to work 34 consecutive, wage withholding, monthly wage of less than US$450, Greenpeace Taiwan member Moffy Chen (陳瓊妤) told a news conference in Taipei.
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Taiwan
Two Taiwanese vessels linked to Fong Chun Formosa (FCF) were allegedly involved illegal shark finning and the illegal transfer of crew and shark fins, she said.
Greenpeace provided its investigation results to the Fisheries Agency two weeks ago, which should disclose the results of its official investigation, Chen said.
Greenpeace Taiwan campaigner Pearl Chen (陳珮瑜) said that while Taiwan’s government has amended regulations, it has not been enough.
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Taiwan
“We found fresh evidence that both government and corporations are failing to protect and respect the human rights of migrant fishers in Taiwan’s distant water fishing fleet,” she said.
“The cases of human rights abuse and environmental destruction we found are simply shocking, and major seafood corporations, like FCF, need to lead and uphold global fishery reform,” she said.
Fisheries Agency Director-General Chang Chih-sheng (張致盛) said that the agency needs to corroborate some of the details in the report with Greenpeace and the vessels involved to ensure a smooth follow-up investigation.
A Fisheries Agency official who declined to be named said the report did not give the names of the interviewees or the period of their employment, which would mean the agency would have to include every migrant fisher who ever worked on the vessels.
Verification of the allegations of illegal practices was also needed, as the interviews did not constitute solid evidence, the official said.
The agency would handle the allegations in accordance with the law if evidence of illegality is found, Chang said.
Additional reporting by Diane Baker
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