According to the Council of Agriculture (COA), which oversees the fishing industry in Taiwan, authorities are attempting to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishery by the country’s large distant-water fishing fleet.
This move came after the EU issued a “yellow card” to Taiwan in October last year, following the discovery of a Taiwanese fishing vessel violating shark finning laws in international waters after a series of discussions between the EU and Taiwan over the elimination of illegal fishing practices.
The EU pointed to what it called Taiwan’s inadequate monitoring, control and surveillance of its long-distance fishing fleets, giving the country six months to improve its legal framework and take corrective measures. Six months have passed and Taiwan has not received a “red card” – which would entail an EU embargo on Taiwanese seafood. This, according to Greenpeace, can result in a loss of TW$7 million (US$214 million) in revenue.
In March, before the EU’s deadline of end March for making amendments and passing new laws, the Executive Yuan approved a draft bill and several revisions to the fisheries law to address the EU’s concerns. A public hearing on the draft bill, regulations on distant fisheries as well as an amendment to the Fisheries Act and Ordinance to Govern Investment in the Operation of Foreign Flag Fishing Vessels is scheduled to take place tomorrow, 18 May 2016.
While the government has failed to meet EU’s deadline, an extension of six months may be given if EU approves of Taiwan’s progress with the improvement plan, according to the COA. The draft bill and revisions however, must win ratification from the Legislative to become law before the current legislative session ends in mid-July to avert the EU trade sanctions, according to an industry expert.