Taiwan and EU High-level Meeting on Combating IUU Fishing signals Law Enforcement Crucial to Removal of Yellow Card Status
It is more than one and a half year since EU placing Taiwan on warning list ( yellow card) in October 2015 for insufficient cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Since then, the two sides have been working closely on the issue. Under the cooperative efforts between the two side, Taiwan has made revision and improvement in 11 action plans covering four major areas, namely distant water fisheries legal framework, monitoring measures, catch traceability, and international collaboration. For further consultations, the Council of Agriculture (COA) Deputy Minister Chi-chung Chen, accompanied by Deputy Director-General Hong-yen Huang and other officials of the Fisheries Agency, traveled to Brussels, Belgium from April 10 to 11 to meet with officials of EU’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (EU side). During the meeting, Taiwan side emphasized its government's determination in combating IUU fishing, and pointed out the relevant work done at the current stage.
Deputy Minister Chen said that during the meeting EU expressed recognition and appreciation in Taiwan government’s efforts on the matter, and said that this would facilitate Taiwan keeping in pace with the international fisheries management trend. The EU side stressed that Taiwan’s reform of distant water fisheries legal framework was regarded as adequate. As for the measures on fisheries monitoring management, especially the establishment of the Interagency Task Force under the Executive Yuan to combat IUU fishing, the implementation of the National Plan of Control and Inspection for Fisheries (NPCI), the establishment of a 24-hr year-round fisheries monitoring center, mandatory installation of E-logbook on all distant water fishing vessels, inspection of vessels at designated foreign ports, and the implementation of fish unloading and transshipment declaration, the EU side were of the view that they met the goal of both parties in the fishery control and management. Furthermore, in terms of international cooperation, the EU side expressed satisfaction on Taiwan’s cooperative arrangements with 18 countries having shared fishery interests, in such a short period of time.
Deputy Minister Chen further explained that during the high-level meeting, the EU side stressed that all the action plans, especially the development of legal framework and the establishment of control measures, were just the starting point of a fishery management regime. How to carry out effective law enforcement and how to ensure fishermen’s compliance should yet be scrutinized in the future. Therefore, the key to Taiwan’s removal from from the yellow card list lies on proper law enforcement and fishermen’s strict compliance. The government will be working closely with fishermen, with an aim of early removal from EU’s yellow card list, whereby enabling Taiwan to sustain its distant water fishery operations.