EU tackles Taiwan over Pacific fishing
Taiwan has been issued a 'yellow card' by the European Union for its illegal fishin in Papua New Guinea waters.
The European Union has just issued Taiwan a 'yellow card' after a pirate tuna vessel was seen fishing in Papua New Guinea waters three weeks ago.
Meanwhile a yellow card has been lifted from Papua New Guinea, which has significantly reformed its fisheries governance.
Jenny Meyer talked to Karly Thomas who is an Oceans Campaigner with Greenpeace and was on the Rainbow Warrior when it found a Taiwan vessel breaking fishing laws near PNG recently.
KARLY THOMAS: There is a huge fishing pressure happening in the region and it is much more than what the oceans can sustain and so to bring that fishing fleet back under control is a huge part of what needs to happen here. And I think Taiwan has more than a thousand longliners operating in this region and for the fisheries agency to start putting much more scrutiny on them and stopping them from fishing illegally is going to be a benefit for the legitimate fishing industry in Pacific island countries and also even distant water fleets. Because at the moment our fish is being stolen out of the region. Things are going unreported which undermines the management and the stock assessment. And it is bad for everyone involved in the fishery that this is going on so we hope that this yellow card and the potential of sanctions in the future will really push some change and stop some of this illegal fishing and undermining of the legitimate fishery.
JENNY MEYER: I understand Papua New Guinea which was previously sanctioned has in fact managed to tighten up its act and has had a yellow card lifted. Are you able to just confirm that, that has happened?
KT: We only understand that from media reports as well, I haven't actually been at the meeting but I understand Papua New Guinea and another country have both had the yellow cards lifted. And I guess the lifting of the yellow cards is really a sign that those countries are taking the steps necessary so the yellow card is the initial step that the EU takes, followed by a red card which comes to sanctions. So there is kind of a grace period given to countries that get yellow carded to start cleaning up their act. And we really hope that the same is going to happen. That Taiwan will take some serious actions not just to deal with the vessel Shuen De Ching No.888 which we have just documented fishing illegally. But also to get their overall fleet under a lot better control because this is not the first and probably not the last illegal fishing case by a Taiwanese long liner that we will find in the region.
JM: How confident are you that what the europeans say and do will make any actual difference to the actual practice on the high seas?
KT: I think the yellow card and red card of a country is only one part of the solution and what really needs to happen as well is concerted efforts by Pacific Island countries and support from distant water fishing nations to actually improve the rules that are in place. And the case that we exposed recently with the Taiwanese vessel, brought up a lot of areas where the current rules are far too weak to stop this activity from happening.
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