Taiwanese fishing vessels accepting New Zealand’s high seas boarding and inspection to be normal practice
In response to the recent media reports regarding a boarding and inspection by the New Zealand Navy on a Taiwanese fishing vessel said to be in contravention to international regulations, the Fisheries Agency (FA) clarifies that fishing vessel Yi Rong No.6, which was inspected, did not fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of New Zealand. It would also like to note that, as a Member of Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO), Taiwan has the obligation to require its fishing vessels to accept high seas boarding and inspection. It is a normal practice for the inspecting Member to notify the results of its inspection as per the agreed procedures of the respective RFMOs.
The FA further states that, as a Member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), under the WCPFC high seas boarding and inspection scheme, Taiwan currently maintains bilateral arrangements with the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, France and Cook Islands. These arrangements authorize reciprocal boarding and inspections to monitor the compliance of fishing vessels on the high seas. The WCPFC scheme has been ongoing for years, and Taiwanese fishing vessels have been cooperative and complying with relevant regulations as well as other conservation and management measures.
As pointed out by the FA, the New Zealand authority appreciated the cooperation from F/V Yi Rong No.6 and would provide the inspection report to Taiwan and the WCFPC, following the WCPFC measures. The initial investigation by New Zealand shows that the vessel did not fish in the EEZ of New Zealand, the vessel was however alleged to have used only one seabird mitigation measure instead of two as required by the WCPFC. The FA states that further investigation has been commenced and, in compliance with WCPFC measures, the investigation report will be completed and submitted to the WCPFC within two months from the day the inspection report from the inspecting Member has been received. If any infringement is confirmed, the vessel will be required to take remedial action or necessary sanction, where appropriate.
Contact person: Kuo-Ping Lin, Deputy Director-General, Fisheries Agency