What you need to know
Some Taiwanese fishermen fear that the new fines imposed for breaking the law could be ruinous for many of them.
To ensure the Taiwanese fishing industry does not receive a red card from the EU, the Legislative Yuan on July 6 passed new regulations on pelagic fishing with amendments to the Fisheries Act and the Ordinance to Govern Investment in the Operation of Foreign Flag Fishing Vessels. Among other things, the amendments include more regulations on fisheries as well as increased fines.
Pelagic fishing refers to operations conducted from vessels using either lines or nets on the surface or at up to several miles undersea.
The amendments align Taiwan with international fishery regulations, including the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the Port State Measures Agreement, and regulate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing while implementing import controls.
Under the new rules, pelagic fishing boats will be required to report their catches via a vessel monitoring system (VMS) on a regular basis. The fine for violating the law can be up to NT$30 million (US$930,000).
Among the 11 items that the EU has asked the government in Taipei to improve, five items are related to amending laws. Taiwanese officials have promised to complete the remaining six items by the end of July. In addition, they will keep communicating with the EU and report their progress. The yellow card issued by the EU is likely to be dismissed before the EU's second examination in September.
Fishermen have complained that the increased fines stipulated in the amendments could threaten their livelihood. One fisherman observes that many members of his profession are not likely to violate the regulations on purpose. A fine of NT$1 million, he says, would practically ruin the operator of vessels under 100 tons.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) also weighed in, saying she worries that the new regulations on pelagic fishing would harm the nation’s fishing and shipbuilding industry.
First Editor: J. Michael Cole
Second Editor: Olivia Yang