A European warning to Taiwan for failing to manage its fleet’s fishing activities in the Pacific and other oceans and curb illegal fishing is a welcome step forward in the protection of fish stocks plundered by distant water fishing fleet, including Taiwanese fishing vessels, Greenpeace says.
A precursor to an import ban, the ‘yellow card’ issued by the European Union to Taiwan for failing to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, comes after Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior busted a pirate Taiwanese tuna vessel off Papua New Guinea waters three weeks ago in an example of the lack of control over Taiwanese fishing vessels.
“With the biggest tuna fleet in the Pacific, Taiwan’s fisheries problem is that there are too many boats flying its flag and too little control.
“Taiwan must clean up its fisheries management, or risk the international embarrassment and economic consequences of an import ban,” said Ning Yen, Greenpeace East Asia Oceans Campaigner.
“We need to see an improvement in Taiwan’s monitoring and surveillance systems, transparent prosecution of lawbreakers, a reduction in its fishing capacity, and support for international conservation measures,” she said.
Taiwan now has six months to bring its fisheries management and vessel control policies in line with international standards, or it risks a ‘red card’ blacklisting and an import ban on fisheries products to the EU, the world’s largest market for such products.
Yen said the yellow carding highlighted significant failings in Taiwan fisheries management, especially in the oversight of its distant water fleet.
Management, monitoring and surveillance of more than 1200 Taiwanese small boats, mainly fishing on the high seas in the Pacific, are a massive challenge.
“Taiwan’s fisheries are out of control, and as profit margins fall, the industry is increasingly reckless and ruthless, breaking the law and exploiting fishermen.
“Too often, Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency has let off or played down IUU cases. This can’t be tolerated any longer,” said Yen.