Cultural exchange and labour rights fair for crews on Taiwanese vessels
Acting Taiwan Fisheries Agency Director-General of the Chih-Sheng Chang and participants in the fair. Image: Taiwan Fisheries Agency

Cultural exchange and labour rights fair for crews on Taiwanese vessels

To better understand the cultures of the foreign crews working on Taiwanese fishing vessels, help them accommodate to the life abroad and enhance their understanding on crew’s welfare and rights, Fisheries Agency of Taiwan, the Keelung City government and the Keelung Fishermen’s Association held a fair for foreign crews working on Taiwanese fishing vessels at Keelung Badouzi Fishing Port.

The Fisheries Agency and the hosting authorities arranged events and performances and prepared cuisine from foreign crew members’ hometowns for the participants to enjoy a day of relax and cultural exchange.

According to the Fisheries Agency, many foreign crew members do not fully understand their labour rights, due to cultural and language barriers or lack of legal knowledge.

Acting Taiwan Fisheries Agency Director-General Chih-Sheng Chang and participants enjoyed cuisine from the fishing crews’ homeland. Image: Taiwan Fisheries Agency

In addition to facilitating interaction with crew members, one of the main purposes of this fair is to improve the foreign crew members’ understanding of their rights. The event started with a prayer for all the foreign crew members, led by the Islamic spiritual guide, and followed by singing and dancing performances by the foreign crew members.

Acting Director-General of the Fisheries Agency, Chih-Sheng Chang participated in the praying, tasted traditional foods from the crew members’ homelands and talked with the participants.

Some foreign crew members stated that there is no adequate place to keep their valuables and passports while they work on board and Chin-Sheng Chang pledged that he would request the Keelung Fishermen’s Association set up such storage or lockers as soon as a suitable location is found.

The Fisheries Agency stated that this event gave many governmental agencies and authorities with a chance to provide information on labour rights and marine environmental conservation, with the intention of enhancing the foreign crew members’ understanding of Taiwan’s regulations and sustainable use of marine living resources.

Besides policy promotions, there were free medical consultation and barbering service at the fair, and the participating foreign crew members received a gift package from the Fisheries Agency as a token of appreciation for their contribution to Taiwan’s fishing industry.

The Agency reiterated that foreign crew members play a significant role in Taiwan’s fisheries, and caring for these vital working partners is essential.

The government has pledged to continue to review relevant regulations and management measures on a regular basis so as to safeguard their labour rights, and will also keep on improving the working and living conditions of foreign crew members.