The Workshop on Working and Living Conditions for Fishers was held in Kaohsiung 6-7th May 2019, organised by the the Director-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission and the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan.
Other concerned bodies, including the Ministries of Labour and of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives of local government, academic bodies and industry also attended.
According to the Fisheries Agency, in recent years, efforts have been made to enhance the rights and benefits of foreign crews on distant water fishing vessels.
To improve the quality of working environment of Taiwan’s distant water fisheries and to better govern the overseas employment of foreign crews, the Regulations on the Authorisation and Management of Overseas Employment of Foreign Crew Members were enacted by the Fisheries Agency on 20th January 2017.
Key provisions of the Regulations include minimum monthly wage and means of payment clearly specified, as well as types of insurances and minimum insured amount increased, control over recruitment agents is also strengthened through permit and security bonds schemes, and fines for agents and vessel owners have been raised.
With a view to further enhancing the rights and benefits of the foreign crews employed overseas and giving due consideration to the characteristics of the fishing industry, the Fisheries Agency expressed that it will continue to review regulations based on the implementation of these and other relevant laws and regulations.
An agency spokesman commented that by strengthening the protection for the rights and benefits of foreign crews, a more positive image for distant water fisheries could be established.
It was also pointed out that foreign crews are an essential workforce in Taiwan’s fisheries.
For Taiwanese vessel owners, foreign crews are not only employees, but also significant working partners at sea. With this Workshop, the Fisheries Agency hopes that Taiwan and the European Union can share relevant experience, in the hope of working together towards quality working conditions and environments for fishing crews.