A comprehensive report on Taiwan’s fishing industry was released by Greenpeace International, Thursday April 14, which accuses the country’s government of failing to take responsibility for the actions of of its fishing fleet in global waters; and warns of damage to the Made in Taiwan brand.
The report is the result of a 12-month investigation that included interviews and observations of Taiwanese vessels and crew operating in the Pacific Ocean as far away as Fiji. Investigators visited major fishing ports in Taiwan, including Kaohsiung, Donggang in Pingtung County, and Nanfang-ao, Yilan County, to conduct interviews with over 100 people working in the industry.
The case study also utilized years of well-documented incidents which point to systemic problems, not only in fisheries management, but in the areas of human rights abuses. Problems cited included routine and endemic illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU), over-fishing, labor abuse, and murder, including mass murder. The unregulated movement of fishing vessels and employment of foreign labor was also linked to people and drug smuggling.
[See related story: Amphetamines Concealed in Frozen Tuna Bound for Japan]
The report states that the government of Taiwan has attempted to avoid dealing with systemic problems by treating each event as an isolated incident caused by the actions of an individual captain, or company, and that as a result, Taiwan has failed to live up to the global standards expected in today’s global marketplace.
Greenpeace warns Taiwan that mature markets like those of the USA, Japan, and Europe, are likely to instigate sanctions against Taiwan’s fishing industry, and the brands associated with it. It also suggests that it casts a negative light on the brand Made in Taiwan, and may have repercussions that go much wider than the seafood industry.
In October 2015, the European Union issued Taiwan a ‘yellow card’ warning for multiple infringements in Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) management under IUU regulations introduced in the EU in 2010. The yellow card is the first step in a process that could lead to a ‘red card’ ban on imports of seafood products sourced by Taiwanese flagged vessels. Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Guinea, are currently under a red card ban.
The decision to issue a yellow card to Taiwan is based on serious shortcomings in the fisheries legal framework, a system of sanctions that does not deter IUU fishing, and lack
of effective monitoring, control and surveillance of the long-distance fleet. Furthermore Taiwan does not systematically comply with Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) obligations. EU issues Taiwan a Yellow Card for IUU
Read the full Greenpeace Report: Made in Taiwan.