Taipei, Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung said Wednesday that Taiwan has planned a series of measures to ensure better oversight of its fishing industry in the hope of being removed from the European Union's watch list of countries whose vessels engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
At a legislative hearing, Chen said Taiwan has drafted new
"mechanisms" to fight IUU fishing, but he did not elaborate.
In light of its effort, Taiwan is hoping to be removed from the EU watch list and to have its "yellow card" lifted after the EU carries out a new round of evaluations in March, he told lawmakers in the Legislature's Economics Committee.
Chen was responding to questions by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chuang Jui-hsiung who noted that Taiwan remains on the EU watch list even after amending its laws in 2017 to tighten regulations on fishing, while Thailand was removed from the watch list in January.
In his response, Chen said Thailand's "yellow card" was lifted after its Deputy Prime Minister issued a directive for all government departments to work toward eradicating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
In addition, Thailand has set up mechanisms to improve fisheries oversight, which Taiwan is also planning to do, Chen said.
In October 2015, Taiwan was placed on the EU watch list for insufficient cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Since then, EU officials have been visiting Taiwan every six months to see how the issues are being addressed but have not lifted the yellow card.
The Council of Agriculture's Fisheries Agency in July 2016 spearheaded amendments to three relevant laws -- the Act for Distant Water Fisheries, the Act Governing Investment in the Operation of Foreign-Flagged Fishing Vessels, and the Fisheries Act -- which took effect Jan. 20, 2017 as part of the government's efforts to have Taiwan removed from the EU watch list.
Under the three amended laws, the maximum fines for illegal fishing were raised from NT$6 million to NT$30 million (US$194,994-US$974,970), while the fine for repeat offenders was increased to NT$45 million.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel