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Fri 28th Jul 2017

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All Taiwan ships should be banned from international fishing

In Oct 2015, the European Union (EU) issued Taiwan with a ‘yellow card’ for not taking sufficient measures to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The EU said that Taiwan’s efforts in monitoring, control and surveillance of long-distance fleets, were inadequate.

The EU gave Taiwan six months to improve their legal framework and take measures to combat IUU fishing. Those six months have passed and Taiwan has not yet received a ‘red card’ – which would entail Taiwan being given trade sanctions and banned from exporting seafood to the EU, a trade that is worth billions of dollars.

SVG Green Party calls for all Taiwan ships to be banned from international fishing immediately. Taiwan should be issued with a global ‘red card’.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is an inter-governmental fishery organisation, responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas.

Taiwan operates a fleet of tuna-fishing vessels on SVG’s deep sea fish licence and uses SVG’s flag on its ships to say they are SVG local fishing vessels. However, under ICCAT rules, fishing vessels should offload their fish catch in the country of the flag the fishing vessel is flying.

Therefore, Taiwan’s fishing vessels must offload their Atlantic Ocean tuna fish catch in St. Vincent and pay fish tax, estimated to be EC$2.7 billion annually.

For over 30 years though, Taiwan has been ignoring the ICCAT rules. The Taiwan fishing vessels do not offload their Atlantic Ocean tuna fish catch in St. Vincent and they do not pay fish tax to the SVG Treasury.

For this blatant disregard of the ICCAT rules alone, all Taiwan ships to be banned from international fishing immediately for many years.

A Greenpeace investigation found that Taiwan’s tuna fishing industry is ‘out of control’ – citing evidence for persistent shark finning, illegal tuna fishing, and forced labour and human rights abuses at sea. The report criticises the Taiwanese government, stating that Taiwan ‘knows these issues exist, [but] does little to address them, despite domestic and international requirements’.

Since 2001, Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal has been calling for Vincentian-trained scientific observers to be placed on all of Taiwan’s deep sea fishing vessels using SVG’s deep sea fish licence and national flag. Finally, after 17 years, ICCAT made it compulsory - as of July 2017 - for SVG to have these scientific observers on all Taiwan fishing vessels registered as SVG ships.

In March 2016, Indonesia, which has taken a tough and violent stance to combat IUU fishing, fired at a Taiwanese vessel suspected of illegally fishing for tuna within Indonesia’s waters.

In Indonesia, the government dynamites illegal fishing vessels to help restore tens of thousands of jobs to small-scale fishing. In August 2015, thirty-eight illegal foreign fishing boats seized by Indonesia were blown up by their navy.

The Indonesian government banned large foreign fishing vessels and transhipment of fish at sea, restricting commercial fishing to a narrow band between 12 and 20 nautical miles offshore, and halting illegal fishing. In the 12 months since the new policies were introduced, economic growth in the fishing sector in Indonesia has been more than 40%.

It is unfair and discriminatory that Gonsalves lets Taiwan get away with not paying billions of dollars in tax, while our children go hungry, while our children live in households without mains water and electricity, and while our children fail to get an education, because their family cannot afford books, uniforms and fees.

An SVG Green Party government will end this abuse of the Vincentian people by Gonsalves and Taiwan. We will cut ties with parasitic Taiwan and make ties with China.

SVG Green Party strongly calls for the Taiwan Ambassador to be deported from SVG and to ban all Taiwan fishing vessels from using SVG’s fish licence and national flag.

All Taiwan ships should be banned from international fishing immediately for many years for illegal fishing and breaking ICCAT rules.

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