Published On: Mon, Apr 25th, 2016

Taiwan Fishing Industry “Out of Control”: Greenpeace

 nsnbc : Greenpeace reported that Taiwan’s fishing industry was “out of control”, citing rampant shark finning as well as labor and human rights abuses. Taiwan has one of the world’s biggest tuna fishing fleets. The presence of Taiwanese and Chinese fishing vessels in neighboring countries including Malaysia and the Philippines has led to increased tensions in the South China Sea.

The international NGO Greenpeace released a report on its latest investigation into Taiwan’s fishing industry, stressing that it observed a cohort of illegal practices, including shark finning, labor and human rights abuses.

Crew on Taiwanese fishing vessels include some 160,000 migrant workers who, according to Greenpeace and several labor and rights organizations suffer horrendous working conditions and physical abuse, exploitation by recruitment agencies and withheld payments.

Greenpeace noted that it, despite international warnings against illegal shark fishing, discovered 16 cases of shark finning in just one Taiwanese port over a three months period. The NGO also registered a Taiwanese vessel that was shark finning near Papua New Guinea in September.

Legislation passed in 2012 requires fishermen to ship back entire shark carcasses, preventing them from just slicing off the fin and to thrown the dead or crippled shark back into the sea. Shark fin is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.

Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency did not respond to Greenpeace’s report and allegations. In September the agency rebuked Greenpeace for boarding a Taiwanese vessel without permission but claimed that it would look into the ship that allegedly was fishing illegally.

The release of Greenpeace report coincided with the expiration of a deadline set by the European Commission last year. The EU Commission noted in October 2015 that Taiwan may face economic sanctions if it didn’t tackle its problems with illegal fishing within six month.

Recent complaints about Taiwan’s illegal fishing also coincide with complaints about Chinese fishing vessels on Malaysian waters and on territories of other Chinese South China Sea neighbors. Last year Taiwanese and Philippine coast guards were engaged in a standoff after the Philippine coast guard attempted to tow away a Taiwanese fishing vessel that allegedly was engaged in poaching.

CH/L – nsnbc 25.04.2016

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