World October 1, 2015 | 9:35 am

Taiwan faces EU sanction on fisheries

Taipei, 1 October 2015 – Three weeks after GreenpeaceRainbow Warrior busted Taiwanese tuna longliner Shuen De Ching No.888 (???888?)fishing illegally in the Pacific, the European Commission has yellow cardedTaiwan for failing to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.The yellow carding highlights significant failings in Taiwan fisheriesmanagement, especially in the oversight of its distant water fleet.

Taiwan now has six months to bring its fisheriesmanagement and vessel control policies in line with international law, or itrisks a red card blacklisting. A red card would mean an import ban on fisheriesproducts to the EU, the world’s largest market for fisheries products. The resultingeconomic loss from such a ban could be as high as €13 million.

Taiwan exports more than half of its US$3.38 billionfisheries production, with more than 90% of tuna going to the US, Japan andother countries. Even though Europe is not a key export market, Taiwan’sinternational reputation could be threatened if it does not urgently improveits fisheries management. Taiwan also risks other key markets following the EUsanction.

“The yellow card highlights that Taiwan’s fisheriesmanagement does not comply with international requirements. Too often, Taiwan’sFisheries Agency has let off or played down IUU cases. This cannot go on beingtolerated,” said Yen Ning, Greenpeace East Asia oceans campaigner.

Taiwan hasthe biggest tuna fleet in the Pacific, and with 1200 small boats, mainlyfishing on the high seas, regulation, monitoring and surveillance are a massivechallenge. The fishery is out of control, and as profit margins fall, theindustry is increasingly reckless and ruthless, breaking the law and exploitingfishermen.

Taiwan has alreadyfaced international sanctions, with a 70% cut to its bigeye quota and areduction of 160 large-scale longliner vessels in 2006, but there have been nolessons learned. The Taiwanese flagged vessel, Yu Fong 168, has been on theWestern and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission IUU list since 2009, simplybecause Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency has no clue where the vessel is.

Following theiryellow carding, Cambodia, Guinea and Sri Lanka were red carded by the EU whenthey failed to show improvement, or increase cooperation, in the fight againstIUU fishing. As a consequence, fisheries products caught by their vessels canno longer be imported to the EU.

South Korea, one ofTaiwan’s key tuna fisheries competitors, was issued a yellow card by the EU in2013, but after largely revising its distant water fisheries management andincreasing penalties for illegal fishing, the card was withdrawn.

“Taiwan has a choice.Taiwan’s fisheries problem is too many boats and too little control. Taiwanmust clean up its fisheries management, or risk the international disgrace andeconomic consequences of a red card,” said Yen Ning.

Greenpeace urgesTaiwan to improve its monitoring and surveillance systems, ensure transparentprosecution of law-breakers, reduce its fishing capacity, and supportinternational conservation measures.

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