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Taiwan, Philippines agree to improve Davao port management

An agreement was reached at the 5th fisheries Technical Working Group between Taiwan and the Philippines held Feb. 26-27

Davao Port

Davao Port (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Taipei and Manila has agreed to share information on fishery inspection, improve management of Davao port and the environment for Taiwanese fishing vessels to unload their catches.

The result was achieved in the fifth fisheries Technical Working Group meeting between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Philippines held in Quezon City from Feb. 26-27, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement Friday.

According to MOFA, Taiwan and the Philippines reached consensus on issues relating to law enforcement cooperation in fisheries.

This will involve improving mutual notification mechanisms, sharing fishing boat inspection information, assistance on fisheries development, exchanging aquaculture and hatching technologies, reducing post-harvest fish losses and updating notification mechanisms under the Agreement Concerning the Facilitation of Cooperation on Law Enforcement in Fisheries Matters.

The two sides also agreed to share related information on Davao port fishery inspections to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing).

Taipei and Manila agreed to improve management of the port through bilateral cooperation, providing a better environment for Taiwanese fishing vessels to unload their catches and protect their operating rights.

MOFA further said, Taiwan agreed to welcome Philippine delegations for interactions on issues relating to the exchange of aquaculture technologies, post-harvest fish loss studies and fish disease control.

On the issue of law enforcement in contiguous zones, MOFA stated that in adherence to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Taiwan firmly reiterated that in areas within Taiwan's Exclusive Economic Zone, its government has the right to protect Taiwanese fishermen, and urged the Philippine side not to illegally seize Taiwan fishing vessels.

Although the Philippine side did not make any undertaking, they now understand Taiwan's position on these issues, MOFA said.

In order to protect fishermen from both sides, Taipei and Manila will hold consultations in the future, to continue in depth dialogue, forge consensus and take measures to mitigate conflict, the ministry said.

The Taiwan side reiterated that as close neighbors, fisheries cooperation is an important foundation for the deepening of bilateral relations, hoping to sustain Taiwan-Philippines fishery cooperation under the "New Southbound Policy."

The Philippines welcomed Taiwan's position, and hopes both sides can resolve differences and create more space for mutual benefits and reciprocity, according to the MOFA.

The meeting was co-chaired by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Deputy Representative James Chu (朱曦) and Manila Economic and Cultural Office Vice Chairman Gilberto Lauengco. Director-general Huang Hung-yen (黃鴻燕) of the ROC Fisheries Agency and Director Eduardo Gongona of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Philippines were the main negotiators.