Strategy Plan for Auditing Industry Related to Distant Water Fisheries
To prevent deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the Council of Agriculture (hereinafter referred to as “the Council”) hereby includes the industry related to distant water fisheries into the supply chain management by guiding such industry to establish and implement self-management of fisheries products traceability and auditing such industry so as to ensure that the catches or fisheries products such industry processed, transported, stored, purchased and sold, sold as agents, or exported are not from IUU fishing vessels.
2. Auditing target
The industry related to distant water fisheries approved in accordance with the Regulations for the Approval and Management of the Exporters of Catches or Fisheries Products of Distant Water Fisheries.
3. Audit squad unit
The Fisheries Agency of the Council (hereinafter referred to as “the Fisheries Agency”) shall independently assign personnel or coordinate with relevant competent authorities to form an audit squad unit. Where necessary, certified public accountants, logistics specialists and relevant experts may be commissioned to render assistance.
4. Auditing standards
The standards for auditing the industry related to distant water fisheries shall include, but not limited to, the following items:
(1) The industry related to distant water fisheries shall receive education/training courses on combating IUU fishing, so as to enhance the knowledge of purchasing and selling catches or fisheries products from legal sources.
(2) The industry related to distant water fisheries shall establish and follow their code of conduct and operating procedures for purchase and sale of catches or fisheries products as well as operating procedures to deal with IUU catches or fisheries products detected, so as to ensure that IUU catches or fisheries products are not purchased or sold.
(3) The industry related to distant water fisheries shall keep transaction records and relevant proving documents for at least five years, and ensure that each batch of catches or fisheries products exported could be traced at all stages from catching, transshipment, landing, transportation, processing to selling.
5. Auditing strategy
(1) The industry related to distant water fisheries shall be approved by the Council before exporting catches or fisheries products of distant water fisheries and shall be guided by the Fisheries Agency to establish and implement the self-management of fisheries products traceability.
(2) Auditors shall receive the training on specific law and regulations related to fisheries management so as to audit the above approved industry.
(3) The Fisheries Agency uses risk assessment method to decide the risk level of approved industry and the auditing frequency or ratio, whereby the auditing targets will be prioritized.
(4) Any approved industry that was audited and found with defect(s) shall take actions to improve within the specified timeframe. In case that an approved industry has not improved within the specified timeframe, or the audit result is below certain rating, its exportation eligibility shall be revoked.
(5) The Fisheries Agency may cooperate with the relevant competent authorities or government of municipality, county and city to conduct auditing jointly.
6. Auditing procedures
(1) Documentation review: The Fisheries Agency shall conduct documentation review on the information declared in the preceding year by the auditee on catches or fisheries products purchased, sold, and stored, and its internal audit reports. Where necessary, the Fisheries Agency may order such auditee to provide, within the specified timeframe, documents and/or information designated by the Fisheries Agency or related to the traceability of the catches or fisheries products exported.
(2) Notification of audit: The Fisheries Agency shall, after the completion of documentation review, prepare the audit plan and inform the auditee to cooperate with the audit.
(3) Field audit: The audit squad unit proceeds to the major operating location of the auditee to conduct field audit so as to verify whether the traceability program of fisheries products established by such auditee has been carried out effectively. The auditing approach may include interview with or examination for personnel in charge of purchase and sales, random check on purchase and sales documents and bills, and auditing on financial statements, detail ledger for purchase and sales payment and revenue, etc.
(4) Audit result: After the completion of field audit, the Fisheries Agency shall inform the auditee the result thereof. Representatives of each side shall confirm the contents of the audit report, and sign thereon. The audit report is made in two copies, held by each side respectively for recordkeeping.
(5) Improvement: The auditee that is rated “B” shall improve the defect(s) found and submit the improvement report within the specified timeframe. The Fisheries Agency shall examine the improvement report submitted by the auditee, and where necessary, it may conduct on-site review. In the event that the defect(s) still remains, the Fisheries Agency may continue to require such auditee to improve within the specified timeframe till the completion of the improvements.
(6) Disposition: In the event that the auditee rated “B” has not completed the improvement within the specified timeframe for three times, or the auditee is rated “C”, the exportation eligibility of such auditee shall be revoked.
7. Audit threshold and frequency
(1) For the auditee whose exportation amount was over 10,000 metric tons in the preceding year, an audit shall be conducted every year. For the auditee whose exportation amount was over 1,000 metric tons and of 10,000 metric tons or less in the preceding year, an audit shall be conducted every five years. For the auditee whose exportation amount was 1,000 metric tons or less in the preceding year, random audit shall be conducted at the ratio of 5% every year, and the priority shall be given to the auditees categorized as high or medium level. For any auditee that has not exported any catch or fisheries product in the preceding year, the audit may be waived.
(2) For an auditee without any defect after the audit and has been categorized in the law risk level in the recent three consecutive years, it may be exempted from the audit for five years starting from the date of the completion of the most recent audit.
(3) In the event that the industry related to distant water fisheries products is reported to be involved in or support the transaction of IUU fishing activities, or any anomaly appears in relevant catch certificates applied by such industry, or the points of risk increase, the Fisheries Agency may conduct the audit at any time.
In case that the industry related to distant water fisheries is found with committing the violations stipulated in subparagraph (2) of paragraph 1, Article 38; or paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Act for Distant Water Fisheries (hereinafter referred to as the “DWFA”) after auditing, the Council shall impose sanctions in accordance with the DWFA and suspend or revoke its eligibility to export catches or fisheries products of distant water fisheries for a certain period.
9. Evaluation and review
Audit reports shall be evaluated by internal experts or external professional institution in accordance with the auditing purpose and procedures. The Council may, based on the internal or external evaluation report, review and amend this strategy plan as appropriate so as to adjust the priority for audit, adjust the audit criteria and frequency as well as personnel allocated for audit.