This morning (31 August 2017), the Fisheries Agency of the Executive Yuan hosted a Press Conference on Port Departure of Patrol Boat and Team Forming of more than 100 Observers at its headquarters. During the conference, apart from disclosing the functions of observers and inspectors, together with the inspectors and observers who will be starting their high seas patrolling mission tomorrow slogans were jointly shouted, demonstrating the efforts and determinations of fighting against IUU fishing as well as safeguarding the marine resources.
The farther is the Eye of Distant Ocean More Care does it Convey, Team Forming of more than 100 observers
The Fisheries Agency mentioned that Taiwan’s distant water fishing vessels operate in the three major oceans of the world. As a flag State, Taiwan has the duty of ensuring that its fishing vessels do not engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, and has thus implemented a series of monitoring and control measures, with the hope of preventing unfair competition from IUU fishing, while ensuring sustainable utilization fisheries resources. Apart from using advanced technologies to track the activities of fishing vessels, observers and high seas patrolling are also important tools of the Fisheries Agency.
The Fisheries Agency also mentioned that since 2002 Taiwan has been implementing an observer program. Presently the number of observers hired is over 100 persons, and they are deployed on distant water fishing vessels to conduct observation missions. After completion of professional training, observers are assigned observation mission on fishing vessels. During their missions, observers have to bear the hardship of rocking waves and loneliness of being away from home. They have to perform the duties as required by the relevant regional fisheries management organizations, such as collection of fishing information, filling in records, taking photos of catch and bycatch species, assistance in carrying out international cooperative projects, and reporting catch data weekly on real time basis. While they are on land, they have to provide assistance in landing inspection at domestic and foreign ports, conducting port samplings and measuring of fish, and propagation of fishery management regulations. Only those who have experienced such a job can realize how hard is the work. The Fisheries Agency emphasized that the fishery information collected by observers is very valuable. Such information, after compelling and analyzing, will be transformed to valuable scientific data. Not only can they assist fishery scientific research, but can also improve the accuracy of the information of distant water fishery, as well as that of the stock assessments. In addition, they can serve as references for formulating conservation and management measures by fisheries managers. Furthermore, observers may also tell the captains the relevant regulations in place, assisting fishing vessels in ensuring compliance with international regulations.
Departure of Patrol Boat for Law Enforcement, IUU has Nowhere to Hide
The Fisheries Agency expressed that apart from sending observers for collecting information, in recent years the Agency has been cooperating with the Coast Guard Administration in conducting patrolling. Every year about 160 days of high seas patrolling are conducted in the western and central Pacific Ocean, for boarding and inspection of Taiwan’s fishing vessels on the high seas to check if they comply with the relevant conservation and management measures of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), as well as to ensure safe operations of our fishing vessels. The Fisheries Agency mentioned that Taiwan’s distant water fishing vessels operating in the western and central Pacific Ocean comprised mainly of tuna longliners and purse seiners. The enforcement team is required to conduct boarding and inspection on those vessels operating in the high seas. Items for inspection include, checking whether the fishing permits (such as fishing license and distant water fishing permits) are valid, whether the VMS on board is properly functioning, whether catch logbooks have been accurately filled in, whether the vessel has caught or retained prohibited fish species, whether shark’s fins have been properly handled, whether the vessel has carried tools for releasing incidental catch of sea turtles, whether the vessel has installed bird scaring lines, and others. They will also check the catch of fish species with quota allocation, as bases for follow-up actions. In case the patrol boat has found that the fishing vessel has violated the relevant regulations, it will be strictly sanctioned accordingly, in order to effectively combat IUU fishing, and to protect Taiwan’s fishing rights and interests.
The Fisheries Agency emphasized that observers and high seas patrolling have thus extended our distant water fisheries management to those fishing vessels operating on the high seas, and coupling with other management measures such as VMS, they will safeguard the marine resources. In order to assume the responsibility of a flag state, while protecting the fishing rights of our fishing vessels, the Fisheries Agency will continue render necessary resources to implement monitoring and control management measures, in ensuring sustainable operations of our distant water fisheries.
Contact person: Hong-Yen Huang, Deputy Director-General, Fisheries Agency
Mobile Phone: 0920-089165