Making Diplomatic Waves off the Diaoyutais

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A Taiwanese fishing vessel was water cannoned by Japanese patrol vessels for straying too close to exclusive waters.

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You would think deep-sea fishermen would be used to getting wet, but the recent use of water cannons against a Taiwanese fishing vessel by Japanese patrol ships has proven controversial.

After the spray-down, they returned the next day, claiming to be a chartered pleasure fishing vessel – an odd claim for a long-line fishing boat. This time, they narrowly stayed out of Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The owner of the fishing vessel could see his license suspended, CNA reported, but Taiwan's admonishment of their own citizen felt like a hook in the mouth for some. In response to the lack of a firm defense by the Taiwanese government, one citizen reportedly defaced a plaque outside Japan’s de-facto embassy.

The situation could be worse – the Argentine Coast Guard has repeatedly fired on Chinese vessels fishing illegally in its waters, famously sinking one in 2016. In February 2018, a Taiwanese fishing vessel was also seized by Indonesian authorities.

By some counts, Taiwan has the world's second most active fishing fleet after China, and it's no surprise that they run afoul of the law occasionally.

A recent report published in the journal Science claims that 55 percent of the world's oceans are fished industrially, with China, Spain, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea accounting for more than 85 percent of tracked fishing vessels.

Read next: The South Atlantic is a Scrum of the World's Illegal Fishing Vessels

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