Taiwan's fishing industry cry 'faul'... Really? / by Francisco Blaha

Once in while you come trough stories that make you go "wt*!". Here is one: "Leaders in Taiwan's fishing industry on Tuesday called on the government to stand up to the people who make the international fishing rules, which they said are usually unfair to the local industry".

 Taiwanese Logsheets qualify mostly as works of fiction

Taiwanese Logsheets qualify mostly as works of fiction

The news was in a Taiwanese News article that caught my attention out of a mention by Michael Crispino of PEW trust. It is soo wrong at so many levels... so here I quote some "nuggets" of it.

The heads of Taiwan's tuna and squid fishing associations said that if the government goes ahead with its plan to impose fines of up to NT$30 million (US$915,000) on their members, it will bankrupt them and they will stage a protest at the Legislature.
After four rounds of meeting with the European Commission, the Council of Agriculture (COA) has drafted new legislation that includes a provision for hefty fines, and plans to send the bill to the Legislative Yuan in late March. The COA bill drafted was in response to the EU's warning to Taiwan last October that it risked being listed as uncooperative in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The EU's decision to issue a "yellow card" to Taiwan was based on serious shortcomings in the country's fisheries legal framework, a system of sanctions that does not deter IUU fishing, and lack of effective monitoring, control and surveillance of long-distance fishing fleets, according to an EU press release.

And this is all true... in 12 year of doing boardings to Taiwanese longliners (directly flagged or via Vanuatu) I have only recently starting to see logsheets that make any sense. Only since 2015 they are requested to radio their position daily to Taiwan. And I truly doubt anyone in the Taiwan Fisheries Authority has a full idea where the Taiwanese vessels are and what and how much are they catching. Furthermore the authority in charge of giving IUU Catch Certificates is the Food Safety Authority... so obviously they have no idea.

Furthermore (and I could not have made this up!) see what happens when you click on the Combating IUU tab of the Fisheries Policy section of the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan website.  Obviously they don't come to meetings like the one I been involved all of this week.

The EU also said Taiwan had failed systematically to meet the obligations of the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO).

True... their record of compliance is bad, and the fact that they have not endorsed any UN treaty (because they are not members of the UN due to Chinese pressure) does not make easier

But Taiwan Tuna Association President Hsieh Wen-jung (謝文榮) said Taiwanese fishing vessels are being singled out for penalties. "Japan is a deep-sea fishing country like us," he said. "Doesn't it still kill dolphins and catch whales in international waters?"

Aahhhh? Mr Weng-Jung should know better... Tuna Fisheries and Whaling/Cetaceans capture are rather different topics and covered by different rules. And in comparison, japan has a much better grasp on their fisheries that Taiwan ever had.

Hsieh said he and other fishery associations will call a press conference at the Legislature and protest the "double standards," which he said are "unfair" to Taiwan. His views were echoed by Taiwan Squid Fishery Association President Lei Tzu-kang (雷祖綱), who said he will join the protest because a NT$30,000 fine was "way too high."
The Philippines was also issued a warning by the EU but responded by hiring over 1,000 observers to monitor their fishing boats in international waters, Lei said.

Mhhh... not sure about that Mr Lei... in fact many of us wonder about how come Philippines got the yellow card lifted, their MCS system is better that yours.... but that is not a very high mark. At least they come to the MCS forums.

He said he suspected the COA had adopted the strategy used by South Korea, which increased its fines on its fishermen in exchange for removal from the EU's warning list. "The government should be able to communicate with foreign institutions and fight for the interests of Taiwan's fishing industry, instead of following the South Korean government," Lei said. "Show some backbone, please."
Hsieh of the tuna association said he understood the pressure the government was facing, because he himself had participated annually in five or six international meetings on fishing regulations.

I didn't know there was s many meetings on fishing regulations! I've been missing them... and that is my job!

"Still, I must point out that organizations like the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and Inter-America Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) are dominated by white people who do not see any conservation problems with catching fish that are their favorites, like skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna, but have a lot to say about the favorites of the yellow people," he said. "It's a classic case of double standards, which is very unfair to us," Hsieh added.

Whoaaa... lets drop some racism into it. For starters the fact you don't even acknowledge the Pacific Island nations role in WCPFC (the place where you boats fish) is kind of racist from your side. Furthermore the EU (Spain) has like 4 vessels in the Pacific... you have 110 (22PS and the rest LL) with permits in PICs (China has 119) and who knows how many more in the International waters. Don't you remember what happened last year when Greenpeace got one of yours?

Lei, meanwhile, said another "unfair rule" is that Americans, who invented the purse seine, are granted much bigger fishing quotas than small countries like Taiwan.

There we go again... there are no quotas in Purse Seiners (you have 22 btw) fact that Taiwan is fishing here is already a product of subsidies... The US (that has 44, of which a substantial chunk are of Taiwanese beneficial ownership) are struggling already (and they invented Purse Seiners!)

So... Maybe they should follow Mr Lei's own advice: get some backbone, put your shit together and stop messing around with your dodgy fleet.

I said in private many times that if the EU wants to do a crucial tackle of the trade on IUU fish in a fundamental way, red carding Taiwan would be an awesome move. . And by doing that, they will indirectly help a lot of the Pacific Islands... as they (for many non fisheries reasons) cannot take such a strong stand by them selves.