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Last Update:2014-12-19

Encouraging fishing layoffs, sustainable resources, sustainable fisheries

The measure for the encouragement of fishing layoffs was initiated in 2002 after Taiwan’s accession to the WTO, when Taiwan was facing the international pressure of lifting of all direct subsidies on production. The Council of Agriculture thus developed the Measure on the Adjustment of Preferential Fuel Price for Fisheries, which was approved by the Executive Yuan for phased reduction of fuel subsidies on fisheries. Starting from 1 September 2002, fuel subsidies were reduced from 28% to 14%. Subsequently, the fuel cost for fishermen was increased. In order to encourage fishermen to focus their operation during the time when the resource was at peak abundance, while tie their vessels in port for carrying out fishing layoffs during off-seasons to save fuel, the measure of fishing layoffs has been implemented.        

Fishing layoff encouragements are classified into voluntary layoffs and designated layoffs. Voluntary fishing layoffs refer to voluntary adjustment by fishery operators whereby their fishing vessels which have carried out fishing for 90 days, and berthing in port for the same number of days berthed, will be qualifiable for the application of subsidies, and receiving subsidies between NT$9,600 and NT$300,000 depending on the sizes of the fishing vessels. Designated fishing layoffs are applicable in accordance with the need in the conservation of fisheries resources and the adjustment of the fisheries structure, under which fishing vessels berth in port for the period of time as designated by the competent fisheries authority. Designated fishing layoffs can be considered as fishing closure, and the current implementation has been amended such that fishing closure is applicable in accordance with the Fisheries Act.   

The number of fishing vessels participated in fishing layoffs increased from year to year, from 5,620 vessel/trips in 2003 to 10,047 vessel/trips in 2013. In view of the escalating fuel price, and the need for fishermen to maintain competitiveness in fishing, the fuel subsidy of 14% will continue to apply. Meanwhile, the Fisheries Agency is promoting fishing layoff encouragement as a form of green subsidy permissible under the WTO rules, in order to conserve fisheries resources and mitigate the impact of high fuel price on fisheries, with the establishment of closed seasons, closed areas, total number of fishing vessels, fishing areas and total allowable catch, for the management of fisheries resources.

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