Management of fishery resources factored in conservation and sustainable development.
The Fisheries Agency (FA) responded to the allegation made by “Greenpeace” on October 2nd. “Greenpeace” released a statement alleging that the government has overlooked the depletion of maritime resources and used its financial resources to expand the production capacity of Taiwan’s far-sea fishery industry. The government pointed out that this allegation is untrue. Currently, all government work implemented to manage and maintain far-sea fishery resources have incorporated the practice of conservation and sustainable development.
“Greenpeace’s” allegation that the government allocates more financial resources for the development of the far-sea fishery industry than for sustainable development is untrue.
“Greenpeace” alleged that the government has put 75% of its budget toward expanding the production capacity of the far-sea fishery industry. It is a fact that, over the past more than 10 years, the amount the FA invested in the far-sea fishery industry has exceeded NT$5,100 million, but the funds were mostly used to subsidize the voluntary retirement of fishing boats and fishermen, patrol of public seas and crew training, dispatch of observers, participation in international organizations, and monitoring of fishing boats. All of the above investments are made to ensure the sustainable development of maritime resources, not expansion of fishing capabilities. As for the allegation regarding the high subsidy for fuels, the subsidies are mainly given to far-sea squid and saury fishing boats for return trips. At the current stage, squid and saury resources are still considered healthy; therefore, expanding the capacity for production of these categories is not against the principles of conservation, and their catch provides citizens a stable and quality source of protein. Tuna fishing boats, a subject of concern for “Greenpeace”, are given a relatively low percentage of fuel subsidies since they are on the seas for longer periods of time.
Furthermore, to manage the fishing capacities of Taiwan’s fishing vessels, the government has implemented a full-scale restriction on the construction of fishing vessels since 1989. The construction of fishing vessels has been restricted to the replacement of old vessels with the same tonnage to ensure that the number of vessels registered in Taiwan is not expanding. As for foreign vessels contracted for construction in Taiwan, the approval process is governed under strict supervision based on the domestic “Regulations on Permission for the Export of Fishing Vessels”, which entails that approval for the export of fishing vessels must be done with strict compliance with the standards set forth by international fisheries management organizations. Under such a setup, we will not expand fishing capacity in regional waters and, at the same time, this will ensure the healthy development of the domestic shipbuilding industry.
Partnership in fishery management policies reinforces conservation.
“Greenpeace” calls upon the FA to support international conservation resolutions, ban destructive fishing methods (including the use of artificial fish aggregating devices), and promote the establishment of ocean conservation zones in the international waters of the Pacific Ocean. The FA indicated that resource conservation has become a global trend, and the Taiwan government is aware of the significance of active participation and establishment of reasonable conservation policies. The FA emphasizes that conservation policies should be established based on a reasonable scientific basis, so that such policies will achieve the goals of both conservation and development of fisheries. The FA responded that the government will continue to participate in the management policy establishment process initiated by international organizations based on scientific recommendations and join international society in the development of sustainable fishery resources and proper solutions for issues involving the closing of international waters in the Pacific Ocean for conservation zones and the banning of artificial fish aggregation devices.
In addition, the FA has established a system to convey information regarding coastal, offshore, and far-sea fishery resources and international management policies to business operators and fishermen in Taiwan through fishermen associations and industrial associations, and regularly dispatches dedicated personnel to major ports, including Nanfangao, Donggang, and Taitung Chenggong. On-site personnel work in the capacity as implementers of the management policies, as well as an information center for current news about fishery resources and international policies. There is still room for improvement, and the FA will continue to improve the system and reinforce public promotion.
Continuous effort in management, conservation, and sustainable development.
The FA concluded that Taiwan is one of the major countries involved in the use of fishery resources. As a member of international society, we have a responsibility to care for and manage fishery resources. Therefore, Taiwan will continue to utilize its limited budget to participate in regional fisheries management organizations and remain involved in the establishment of conservation and sustainable development policies. The FA will also work to ensure the implementation of domestic regulations and the sustainable development of fishery resources.