TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Greenpeace Taiwan joined labor organizations in a protest in Taipei on Thursday (Sept. 30) urging immediate action to protect the rights of migrant fishermen.
Participants at the rally blasted the government for failing to address work abuse on Taiwanese vessels a year after the U.S. listed fish caught by local boats as products of forced labor, the first time Taiwan was added to the “dirty list.”
Their demands include adhering to the International Labor Organization’s C188 - Work in Fishing Convention, a revision to the law that ensures equal rights for foreign and local fishermen, and enforced vessel inspections, per CNA.
Representatives of the campaign delivered a petition signed by 70 Indonesians who have worked on Taiwan fishing boats to the Cabinet and the National Human Rights Commission. At least 10,000 U.S. consumers have also said they would reject seafood products from forced labor in Taiwan.
Southeast Asian workers are a major workforce on Taiwan vessels, but ill-treatment is regularly reported. Migrant fishermen working in coastal fishing filed 1,521 complaints to the Ministry of Labor between 2017 and 2019, which have not been properly addressed, according to the Control Yuan.
The Fisheries Agency said the Cabinet has proposed an action plan to tackle the issue. The plan will seek to improve fishermen’s living and working conditions, implement sound wage and brokerage systems, eliminate “debt bondage” practices, and more.