Fisheries Agency of Taiwan states the Agency will impose sanctions accordingly if the allegations made by Greenpeace were found to be true.
Concerning the allegations made in Greenpeace’s report “Choppy Waters - Forced Labor and Illegal Fishing in Taiwan’s Distant Water Fisheries” published on March 19 that some Taiwanese flagged vessels might conduct illegal transshipments, have employment contracts that violate Regulations on the Authorization and Management of Overseas Employment of Foreign Crew Members, and are possibly with forced labor situations onboard, the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan responded that it has launched an investigation to these allegations. If any allegations were proved to be true, the Fisheries Agency will certainly impose sanctions on offenders accordingly or forwarded such cases to Prosecutors Office in cases that further criminal investigation is needed.
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan expresses gratitude to relevant groups for valuing the human rights of crew members; however, as relevant information such as time and location of the suspected violation did not include in the survey report published by Greenpeace, such investigation might be quite difficult. The Fisheries Agency will make further inquiries with Greenpeace to gather clear evidence so as to speed up the investigation. Additionally, the Fisheries Agency emphasizes that once concrete evidence was found, the Fisheries Agency will certainly impose sanctions on any offenders accordingly and no quarter will be granted.
At last, the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan states that in order to protect the rights and benefits of foreign crew members aboard distant water fishing vessels and to understand their living and working conditions onboard and welfare, the Agency has been conducting interviews with crew members through survey questionnaire when such vessels enter in domestic and foreign ports for transshipments or landings and during High Sea Boarding and Inspection activities. If any violation were found, the Fisheries Agency will certainly impose sanctions accordingly, or if appropriate, forwarded such cases to Prosecutors Office for criminal investigation. Information on sanctions will also be placed on the official website of the Fisheries Agency. As for the request made by Greenpeace requiring Taiwanese fisheries companies to increase transparency in the seafood supply chains and to protect the rights and benefits of labors, the Fisheries Agency states that attaching great importance on fisheries resource conservation, ensuring rights and benefits of labors and the promotion of transparency in supply chains have always been the Agency’s policy objectives. The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan will continue strengthening communication with the business sector, expecting to follow the global trends while upgrading Taiwanese distant water fisheries and promoting their sustainable development.