Taiwan, EU pledge to safeguard labor rights for fishing industry workers

Taiwan has been placed on EU’s watch list of countries engaging in illegal fishing

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EU-Taiwan workshop on fishermen's working conditions (Photo/EETO)

EU-Taiwan workshop on fishermen's working conditions (Photo/EETO)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwanese authorities and the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) vowed to work together to address labor rights issues and ensure better oversight of the country’s fishing industry in a workshop held in Kaohsiung between May 6 and 7.

Taiwan has sought to be removed from the EU’s watch list of countries where fishing vessels are believed to be engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, but to no avail. Measures have been taken by the island trying to rid itself of the “yellow card” status, imposed by the EU in October of 2015.

In a press release, EETO reckoned that fishing is recognized as one of the most hazardous occupations and that fishermen, particularly those with migrant backgrounds, are subject to exploitation and discrimination. Challenges lie ahead for the government to ensure the workers’ rights are well protected.

EETO made a case for honoring International Labor Organization Decent Work in Fishing Convention No. 188, a framework that sets the standards of ensuring decent work conditions for the world’s 38 million laborers in the fishing sector.

EETO also acknowledged the effort of Taiwan to implement a range of measures countering human trafficking and forced labor, while continuing to offer an improved environment for individuals making a living by fishing.

The workshop saw the participation of 60 representatives from the government, fishing industry, unions, civil society, and academia from both sides. It served as a platform for the attendees to share their practices and insight in the field.