Reaffirming commitment to combat IUU Fishing, the Fisheries Agency imposed a record fine over NTD$10 Million on one vessel
To combat IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing, the Fisheries Agency imposed a fine of NTD $12,000,000 on a fishing vessel that committed serious infringement. It is the first time that a fine over 10 million is imposed on one individual vessel. In addition to the financial penalty, the fishing license of this vessel was also revoked. According to the statistics, since the start of 2018, financial penalties have been imposed on 19 non-compliant fishing vessels, and the accumulated total amount of fine has reached NTD$ 43,820,000.
Based on the information provided by the Fisheries Agency, recent cases of violations include fishing in waters under national jurisdictions of other countries without the appropriate approval, seriously misreporting catch reports, and leaving ports without installing VMS onboard. The fisheries operators and employees of these fishing vessels were duly punished, some with intensified financial penalties in accordance with the severity of events or the number of illegal benefits. For some violators, fishing licenses were also suspended for 1 to 3 months or revoked, in addition to financial penalties. In the case of F/V Shun De Man No. 66, which was sanctioned to pay a fine of NTD$ 12,000,000 with its license revoked for leaving a foreign port without installing VMS onboard, and deliberately provided false in-port positions to avoid monitoring of its fishing operations. Other than the evident intent to bypass government regulations, it also ignored when the Agency required its cooperation in providing relevant information. Due to lacking of cooperation with the competent authority and its imprudent misbehavior, this case was considered as a serious violation, and more stringent penalties were applied.
Combatting IUU is the best approach to safeguard rights and benefits of the legitimate fisheries operators.
The Fisheries Agency further indicated that, IUU fishing undermines the effectiveness of conservation and management measures adopted by the international communities and threats the sustainable use of fisheries resources. IUU fishing also constitutes unfair competition to legitimate fisheries operators. Therefore, the Agency continues to strengthen the monitoring and management measures and utilize penal provisions empowered by the Distant Water Fisheries Act, including fines, licenses revoking or suspension, illegal catch forfeiture or destruction and prohibition to leave designated ports, aiming to protect the legitimate operators.
With the Distant Water Fisheries Act entered into force in January 2017, the legal framework for Taiwan's distant water fisheries has been more consolidated. While the Fisheries Agency has the duty to educate the fishermen and industry to comply with fisheries regulations and ensures the effective implementation, it also bears the responsibility to impose stringent penalties on those who fail to comply with.
Ensuring law enforcement, deterring IUU fishing and protecting legitimate and compliant operators have been the long-term and core policies of the Government of Taiwan, stressed by the Fisheries Agency. Strengthening the fisheries management ensures that the fisheries of Taiwan are conducted in line with the responsible fishing nation and market state and is the best approach to further safeguard the benefits of legitimate and compliant fisheries operators.