Taiwan Signed Fisheries Cooperation Agreements with Tuvalu and Nauru
On May 19th, 2016, the Council of Agriculture (COA) signed fisheries cooperation agreements with Tuvalu and Nauru respectively. The Taiwan-Tuvalu Fisheries Cooperation Agreement was signed by Mr. Chen Chih-Ching, the former Minister of COA and Mr. Elisala Pita, the Minister of Natural Resources of Tuvalu. In addition, the Taiwan-Nauru Fisheries Cooperation Agreement was signed by Mr. James Sha, the former Deputy Minister of COA and Mr. Michael Aroi, Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Nauru. The signing ceremonies were witnessed by Prime Minister of Tuvalu, H.E. Enele Sosene Sopoaga, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and leaders from fishing industry. The aforementioned agreements open a new chapter in fisheries cooperation between Taiwan and the two countries.
Signing of the agreements based on equality, mutual respect and common benefit
The COA stated that Tuvalu and Nauru are two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the South Pacific and have maintained long fisheries partnerships with Taiwan. The waters surrounding the two nations are rich in tuna and are important fishing grounds for Taiwanese tuna fishing vessels. With annual catch of 160,000 to 220,000 tones which translates to a value of NT$7 billion, Taiwan’s tuna purse seine vessels operate within EEZ of seven South Pacific nations, including Tuvalu and Nauru. Recognizing the necessity for enhancing fisheries cooperation on existing relationship, Taiwan has begun bilateral discussion with the competent authorities of these two countries since 2015 in accordance with the principles of equality, mutual respect and common benefit. Through intensive negotiation made by both COA and Taiwan’s Embassies in Tuvalu and Nauru, Taiwan reached consensus with both countries and signed abovementioned Agreements on May 19, in which both secure a more stable business environment for Taiwanese industry also further as well as strengthen bilateral relationship between Taiwan and its two partners.
Areas of fisheries cooperation
The COA explained that in the past, cooperation with the two nations had been limited to fisheries access and investment from private sectors. The said agreements with Tuvalu and Nauru expand the scope and degree of cooperation to cover promotion of fishing ventures; post-harvest fishing logistics and marketing; joint promotion of fisheries conservation and management; exchange of fisheries information; and combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices. The COA believe that the said agreements would further promote fisheries cooperation between Taiwan and the said nations and increase mutual benefits.
Meeting international requirements by combating IUU fishing
The COA further stated that in addition to exploring the issue of the development of fishery cooperation, the said agreements also secure management and conservation of fisheries resources by cooperation in order to ensure sustainable development. Recognizing 10 billion to 23 billion US dollars in losses caused by IUU fishing every year, the international community has been working together to prevent and combat IUU fishing. Furthermore, the US and the EU, the two major market states in the world, have implemented regulations for combating IUU fishing. They regularly perform investigation on the status quo of other nations’ fisheries management scheme and proceed to ban the import of aquatic products from nations that are determined to be uncooperative in the fight against IUU fishing. The signing parties of the agreements are confident that through cooperation on both combating IUU fishing and complying with foreign-market demands, the three nations can ensure continuous export of their aquatic products and maintain a long-lasting fishery development.