Sanctions against illegal fishing hardened to seek EU’s green light

Date: August 16, 2017

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The Taiwanese Government imposed fines in 109 cases of illegal fishing involving deep-sea fishing vessels from Taiwan as of the end of July.

Fisheries Agency officials explained the move is part of an effort to ensure the European Union (EU) removes Taiwan from a watch list of countries that have not taken sufficient action to curb illegal unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Deputy chief of the agency Huang Hung-yen outlined that of the cases, 85 were penalized from January 1 to June 30 based on the amended Fisheries Act, while the other 24 were fined based on the new Act for Distant Water Fisheries that came into force on January 20.

The 24 violators dealt with in accordance with the new law, which stipulates heavier penalties, were fined TWD 100,000 (USD 3,300)- TWD 4 million (USD 131,000), for a total of TWD 18.2 million (USD 600,000).

For his part, Council of Agriculture deputy head Chen Chi-chung said the government hopes Taiwan will be removed from the list in October.

In October 2015, the European Commission gave Taiwan a “yellow card” and warned that the country risks being identified as uncooperative in the fight against “illegal, unreported and unregulated” fishing.

The warning followed a report by Greenpeace that a Taiwanese fishing vessel, the Shuen De Ching No. 888, was seen illegally harvesting shark fins and throwing the dead sharks back into the water near Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific.

Since then, the European Union has sent officials to Taiwan every six months to evaluate measures taken by the government to address the issue.

The next evaluation is expected in October.

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