Responding to the NOAA 2021 report on Improving International Fisheries Management, the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan has stated that it will initiate the consultation with the US, alongside an investigation into potential vessels involved.
The NOAA report identified Taiwan among 29 nations nations and entities as failing to adopt measures to mitigate the bycatch of sea turtles that are comparable in effectiveness to those of the US.
According to the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan, combating IUU fishing has been a longstanding policy of the Taiwan Government. Based on the evidence of IUU fishing activities, the Agency states that it will impose sanctions pursuant to the Act for Distant Water Fisheries.
The NOAA report also indicates that, on the basis of NGO reports, a total of 13 Taiwan vessels had violated conservation and management measures, such as fin-to-carcass ratio of sharks, prohibited shark species, and transshipment, set by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), and International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) during the period of 2018 – 2020.
As a result, Taiwan is identified as having fishing vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities.
The Agency points out that the US has not previously contacted Taiwan with respect to the alleged fishing vessels. According to the Fisheries Agency, the US will consult with the countries identified in the Report for the purpose of certifying in the 2023 Report whether those countries have taken corrective actions. The Agency states that it will continue to consult with the relevant US authorities on measures to effectively reduce by-catches of sea turtles. Concerning alleged IUU activities, Taiwan has not been notified by the US of the vessel names and related information, and these cases took place two to three years ago.
To facilitate the investigation, the Agency states that it is contacting the US to obtain further details, and further states that based on evidence of IUU fishing activities, the Agency will impose sanctions pursuant to the Act for Distant Water Fisheries.
A spokesman for the Agency commented that as one of the countries utilising fisheries resources on the high seas, Taiwan has actively participated in the relevant RFMOs and sought to fulfil its flag State responsibilities.
‘As a result of these efforts, none of the fishing vessels flying the flag of Taiwan has been listed on the IUU Vessel List of any RFMO in recent years. NGOs have informed the Agency of possible infringements based on interviews with crew working onboard Taiwanese vessels, and, for those alleged cases, the Agency has verified whether the violations did happen by means of port inspections, interviewing crew members, etc,’ the Agency’s spokesman said.