The Taiwan Fisheries Agency (TFA) has engaged in a comprehensive labour inspection initiative in Fiji, Cape Town of South Africa and Port Louis of Mauritius this year.
The primary objective is to safeguard the rights of migrant crew members operating on Taiwanese distant-water fishing vessels. TFA has already carried out five labour inspections, inspected 157 vessels and interviewed 740 migrant fishers in these three locations.
This encompasses not only inspections but also direct interviews with crew members, aimed at gaining valuable insights and swiftly addressing any concerns.
Lindsay Meyepa of Stella Maris Mauritius and Fr. Rico Talisic of Stella Maris Cape Town have worked closely with TFA in this initiative and TFA director-general Chang Chih-Sheng participated in the inspection in Fiji to speak in person to migrant fishermen.
Taiwanese distant-water fishing vessels operate across multiple oceans, including the Indian Ocean with regular port visits to Port Louis, Mauritius. The inspections are a through assessment of both working and living conditions, including wage structures, living spaces, safety equipment availability, provisions of essential supplies, and adherence to attendance records. Operators are reminded to adhere to regulations, prioritising crew members’ rights.
TFA has stressed to importance of collective efforts to enhance the working environment for migrant crew members. A call is made for collaboration between operators and non-governmental organisations to foster a harmonious employer-employee dynamic, crucial for sustaining distant-water fisheries in the long run.
TFA staff have expressed their appreciation to Stella Maris in Cape Town and Mauritius, and to FCF Co, Ltd. (FCF) for their invaluable support. The agency reaffirms its commitment to ongoing local and global labor inspections, ensuring the rights of migrant crew members remain paramount.