Taiwan responds to EJF claims
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan has launched an investigation following allegations by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) that Taiwanese fishing vessels are involved in illegal fishing activities.
The NGO has claimed that illegal activity is harming dolphins, turtles and sharks following discussions with Indonesian crew members from five longline vessels all either flying a Taiwanese flag or linked to Taiwanese ownership.
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan has counter-claimed that hearsay information from foreign crew makes it very difficult to verify the accusations. Additionally, the photographs and films posted by the EJF cannot be clearly related to any specific fishing vessel.
However, Taiwan has indicated that it will launch an investigation based on available information. If the violation is confirmed, it will be subject to punishment in accordance with the Distant Water Fisheries Act (DWFA).
Since the DWFA came into force in 2017, the Taiwanese Fisheries Agency argues that it has improved management and increased the numbers of inspectors who now arrive at ports at 3am thus challenging the claim made by some environmental groups and media that operators can easily evade inspection.
Taiwan has also pointed out that it has already adopted seven of the ten principles for global transparency advocated by the EJF and that delay in implementing the remaining three is due to conflicting regulation around data protection.
Finally, the agency notes that most Taiwanese fishermen have made tremendous efforts to comply with regulation and that these efforts should not be disregarded.
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