Failure to tackle illegal fishing and human rights abuse in the Taiwanese fleet harms the country’s reputation and jeopardizes millions of dollars in seafood trade.
The News Lens
By: Max Schmid
Taiwan’s fishing industry, and the agency in charge of monitoring it, are once again on the receiving end of harsh international criticism.
In July, the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced that the Taiwanese vessel Fuh Sheng 11 had become the first ship cited for violating the Work in Fishing Convention (also known as C188), which sets standards for the fair treatment of fishermen at sea. The ship was inspected in Cape Town, South Africa, which is one of 10 countries to ratify the Work in Fishing Convention to date.
Today, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), after interviewing multiple crew members in Indonesia, is revealing that the situation was graver than initial reports made it out to be. EJF also says Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency, which regulates the industry, missed several opportunities to hold the vessel to account. Crew members told EJF they were beaten and made to work up to 22 hours a day. EJF also received evidence of the illegal finning of sharks, including endangered hammerhead sharks.
The report is the latest in a series of nongovernmental organization (NGO) and media revelations that suggest a pattern of work abuse, salary withholding, and illegal fishing by Taiwanese vessels. [FULL STORY]