Taiwan Clarifies the Alleged Illegal Fishing Incident
On March 9, 2022, the St. Helena Government (SHG) published a press release on its website indicating that a Taiwanese longline fishing vessel had reportedly fished illegally within the 200 nautical miles of St. Helena’s exclusive fishing zone ( https://reurl.cc/j1QXap ). The SHG Marine Enforcement Section therefore initiated an investigation into this case.
Upon learning this news, the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan immediately checked the vessel positions of all the Taiwanese longliners operating in the Atlantic Ocean. It was found that only one vessel, CHIEN TSAO NO.322, passed through the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of St. Helena from February 27 to March 1, and from March 5 to March 7. However, the tracks of the vessel in question show that it navigated through the EEZ in straight course on those two occasions, and do not indicate signs of longline fishing operation within the EEZ. In addition, the vessel hourly reported its position in accordance with Taiwan’s regulations, with the average speed at that time of at least 8 knots. Under such circumstances, it was not possible to conduct fishing operations. As a consequence, this Agency concludes that the vessel concerned did not fish illegally in the EEZ of St. Helena, and takes the initiative to contact SHG to inform the investigation result.
As a responsible flag State, Taiwan established a Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC) in 2017 to closely monitor the activities of Taiwanese distant water fishing fleets operating in three major Oceans. One of the missions of the FMC is to monitor whether the tracks of any fishing vessel indicate signs of illegal fishing in the EEZs of other countries. With the FMC and other management measures implemented by this Agency, all of Taiwanese distant water fishing vessels are under strict control.
To combat IUU fishing, Taiwan has not only taken actions unilaterally but also cooperated with other countries. This Agency reaffirms its willingness to continue such collaboration so as to jointly conserve marine living resources and secure the rules-based international discipline.
Contact Person: Deputy Director-General Mr. Kuo-Ping Lin