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EU concerned about illegal fishing of Taiwanese ship

EU concerned about illegal fishing of Taiwanese ship

Taipei, Oct. 10 (CNA) The European Commission is concerned about the illegal fishing practices of a Taiwanese fishing ship, the head of the Fisheries Agency said Saturday. Tsay Tzu-yaw (???), director-general of the agency, said the EU issued a yellow card to Taiwan on Oct. 1, warning it risked being identified as an uncooperative country in the fight against "illegal, unreported and unregulated" (IUU) fishing. He said the EU wanted to learn about the measures the agency will take to discipline the ship involved in the illegal practices. At issue was a Pingtung-registered vessel, the Shuen De Ching No. 888, which Greenpeace reported as having illegally harvested shark fins and thrown the bodies of the sharks into the sea near Papua New Guinea in early September. Informed of this, Taiwan ordered the ship back, and the Shuen De Ching returned to Kaohsiung on Friday escorted by a Coast Guard vessel. Tsay said the types and actual number of fish caught by the vessel are being certified. Some fins were sent to National Taiwan University for tests to identify the species from which the fins were taken, a process that will take about two weeks. He said that if it is confirmed that the ship violated regulations by harvesting shark fins while throwing the bodies of the sharks back into the sea, the operator will have its fishing license suspended for between one month and a year. Shark fins are considered a delicacy in expensive Chinese cuisine and can command high prices at upscale restaurants. Tsay called on fishermen to heed international conservation regulations and domestic laws, adding that no single incident can be treated as just an isolated case because it will affect the nation's fishing industry internationally. The decision to issue a yellow card to Taiwan is based on "serious shortcomings in the fisheries legal framework, a system of sanctions that does not deter IUU fishing, and lack of effective monitoring, control and surveillance of the long-distance fleet," the EU said in issuing its warning. "Furthermore Taiwan does not systematically comply with Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) obligations," it said. The commission has given Taiwan six months to resolve the identified issues. If the shortcomings are not addressed within six months, the EU could consider trade sanctions on fisheries imports from Taiwan, which currently amount to 13 million euros (US$14.77 million) annually. (By Yang Shu-min and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-21 12:34 GMT+08:00