EC lifts Taiwan's yellow card on IUU fishing

The EC has lifted Taiwan's yellow card after efforts to reduce IUU fishing prove successful Photo: EJF The EC has lifted Taiwan's yellow card after efforts to reduce IUU fishing prove successful Photo: EJF

The European Commission has lifted Taiwan's 'yellow card' in acknowledgement of the efforts made to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The EC and Taiwan have been engaged in cooperation and dialogue since the issuing of the card in 2015 and the EC is confident that the Taiwanese authorities now have a broad range of efficient tools in place to fight IUU fishing.

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said, "I welcome the considerable efforts undertaken by Taiwan to reform its fisheries legal framework, implement new control tools and improve the traceability of marine fisheries products."

Together with a major upgrade of its fisheries' legal and administrative systems, Taiwan has also reinforced obligations imposed on Taiwanese operators owning fishing vessels flagged to third countries. Looking ahead, the EC proposes a dedicated IUU working group to allow both sides to maintain close cooperation.

More needs to be done, warns EJF

The export value of the Taiwanese fishing industry has ranged from between US$1.6bn to US$2bn over recent years. Efforts to address IUU fishing have been welcomed by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) but the UK-based charity warns that more needs to be done.

Investigations by the charity reveal that Taiwan's distant water tuna fleet continues to flout the new laws and the EJF believes better enforcement of the new legislation is critical. Moreover it is concerned that the EC has not considered human rights issues as part of its decision to remove the yellow card.

"Taiwan has started on the journey to sustainable and ethical fishing, but it has by no means reached the destination," said EJF's executive director, Steve Trent. "Its new laws need full implementation and rigorous enforcement, recognising that any law is, ultimately, only as good as its enforcement."

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