TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An unnamed European Union official said the organization would soon send a delegation to Taiwan in order to inspect the country’s fisheries management two years after it had been pre-identified by the EU as a non-cooperating country in the fight against illegal fishing, reports said Thursday.
The Central News Agency reported that the inspection by the delegation could determine whether Taiwan’s pre-identification status will be revoked.
The EU pre-identified Taiwan as being non-cooperating in October 2015 in its program for tackling and deterring illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Under the EU regulations, pre-identification is a warning. A country receiving a warning should address the problems of illegal fishing in its territory and fisheries management. If not, the warning could then be switched to sanctions, including a ban on the country’s imported products into EU countries or a ban on the EU’s marine vessels into the country’s territory.
The EU official declined to say whether Taiwan is likely to be removed from the warning list by the end of the year, but told the CNA the result of the inspection by the delegation would determine the change of Taiwan's pre-identification status.
Earlier Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency held a news conference saying the government had made such progress in fighting against illegal fishing and improving fisheries management that it is confident the country's pre-identification status will be revoked.
In response to the EU’s warning, the Taiwanese government had taken a series of measures to combat illegal fishing, including improving fisheries regulations and management, and building technology to better monitor fishing companies and their activities, said the agency.
In February, the government established a 24-hour monitoring center in order to track and deter illegal fishing activities more effectively, said the agency.
According to the EU, the organization has been in cooperation with third countries in dealing with Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, for such activities not only put a considerable threat to sustainable fishing as well as the marine environment, but also endanger legal fishing operations out of unfair competition and inadequate safety controls.