Taiwan supports global treaty against illegal fishing

  • Date: 2016-07-29
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Taiwan  welcomes  the  entry  into  force  of  the  Agreement  on  Port  State  Measures  to  Prevent,  Deter  and  Eliminate  Illegal,  Unreported  and  Unregulated  Fishing  (PSMA)  as  a  major  step  in  the  global  fight  against  illegal  fishing  operations,  the  Executive  Yuan  said  today.  The  agreement,  adopted  by  the  U.N.  Food  and  Agriculture  Organization  (FAO)  in  December  2009,  came  into  force  June  5  this  year.  

As  a  member  of  the  world  community  and  a  major  fisheries  nation,  Taiwan  supports  the  internationally  binding  agreement,  the  Executive  Yuan  said.  Under  the  principles  of  equality  and  dignity  and  in  accordance  with  international  and  domestic  laws,  Taiwan  will  exert  every  effort  to  implement  the  PSMA’s  port  inspection  measures  and  fulfill  its  responsibilities  as  a  port  state  and  flag  state.  

In  addition  to  supporting  the  spirit  and  content  of  the  PSMA,  the  Executive  Yuan  has  directed  government  agencies  to  ensure  the  treaty  is  realized  in  Taiwan.  For  instance,  a  distant  water  fisheries  act  recently  passed  by  the  Legislative  Yuan  incorporates  the  principles  and  spirit  of  the  PSMA  and  establishes  clear  guidelines  on  foreign-flag  fishing  vessels  entering  Taiwan  ports.  Future  related  laws  will  also  include  the  PSMA’s  port  inspection  measures  and  adhere  to  decisions  made  by  regional  fisheries  management  organizations.  

According  to  FAO  statistics,  global  losses  from  illegal,  unreported  and  unregulated  (IUU)  fishing  are  estimated  to  run  between  US$10  billion  and  US$23  billion  each  year.  Aside  from  endangering  marine  life  and  resources,  these  activities  cause  short-  and  long-term  economic  losses  to  society  and  have  harmful  impacts  on  food  security  and  the  environment.

The  Council  of  Agriculture  said  that  the  purpose  of  the  PSMA  is  to  harmonize  port  control  regulations  and  prevent  illegally  caught  seafood  from  reaching  international  markets.  By  denying  port  entry  to  IUU  vessels,  nations  can  significantly  reduce  the  vessels’  chances  of  selling  their  catch.  The  agreement  is  an  important  tool  in  fighting  IUU  fishing  and  curbing  illegal  fishing  operations  worldwide.