I. Background of Development and Present Status
At the outset of Taiwan’s retrocession from the Japanese occupation in 1945, after the World War II, the production of Taiwan’s coastal and offshore fisheries was drastically reduced to an annual production of some 16,000 tons, due to the war. The policy at that time was to restore the coastal and offshore fisheries. In 1951, the government encouraged the private businesses to build fishing vessels, gradually restoring the coastal and offshore fisheries, with increasing production year after year. Between 1953 and 1960, the 1st and 2nd phases of the economic plan were implemented, during which there was in-flow of capitals for the development of small-scale coastal and offshore fisheries. Government’s program of soft loan for acquisition of vessels boosted the growth of Taiwan’s fishery. To protect the resources of bottom fish, in 1966 the system of building replacement for trawlers less than 300 GRT was implemented. The policy of “motorization of fishing vessels, mechanization of fishery equipment, scientific fishing operations, and entrepreneurship in running fishing businesses” was promoted in the 1970s, boosting further breakthrough in fisheries development. In 1981, the production of the coastal and offshore fisheries reached the peak of 400 thousand metric tons. However, due to the constraint in fishing areas and resources, since then setback was seen in the fisheries.
As from 1989, the system of overall vessel building restriction and building replacement was implemented, in order to control the number of fishing vessels entering the fishery. In 1991, the government put forth the policy of “zero growth on the fleet size”, with emphasis focusing on structural improvement and refinement of the industry. In addition, in order to accelerate the reduction of fishery scale, the government implemented the first phase of vessel buyback program between 1991 and 1995, and provided fishing layoff incentives as from 2003. In recent years, the production of the coastal and offshore fisheries has maintained at a volume between 180 and 200 thousand metric tons. Apart from reinforcing the management of marine capture fisheries, the government has exerted more efforts in launching artificial reefs and releasing of fish fry, for restocking of resources.
The types of fisheries in Taiwan’s coastal and offshore fisheries include, gill-net fishery, trawl fishery, longline fishery, pole and line fishery, troll fishery, pot fishery, ring net fishery, torch light net fishery, Danish seine fishery, mackerel fishery, larval fishery, flying fish egg fishery, precious coral fishery, set-net fishery, and fish fry catching, with widely diverse fish species in their catches.
II. The Impediments
The problems faced by the coastal and offshore fisheries in recent years include overuse of fisheries resources, pollution of marine environment, damage of important habitats, illegal fishing activities, shortage of local fishing labors, fishery disputes due to overlap of EEZ with neighboring countries, etc. To address the holistic change in the fishery environment, the government has thus promoted the practice of responsible fisheries, and intensified management of fisheries resources, to ensure their sustainable use.