Taiwan shared progress in improving human rights in the fishing sector at the 'Taiwan-US Bilateral Consultation on Fishery Labor Rights and Benefits'
The "Taiwan-U.S. Bilateral Consultation on Fishery Labor Rights and Benefits" was held in the afternoon of September 2, U.S. time, in Washington, D.C. The Fisheries Agency, Council of Agriculture, met up with the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL/ILAB) for exchanging information and experience on safeguarding the labor rights of migrant fishermen. Taiwan shared the latest progress in improving human rights in its fisheries sector in the meeting, and discussed with the U.S. how to safeguard the rights and benefits of migrant fishermen broadly.
The Fisheries Agency mentioned that the U.S. understood Taiwan's strong position on improving and safeguarding the rights and benefits of migrant fishermen on Taiwanese fishing vessels, and was informed that the "Action Plan for Fisheries and Human Rights" has been approved by the Executive Yuan on May 20, 2022. There are seven implementation strategies in this Action Plan, including “Full Implementation of Agreed Labor Conditions,” “Improvement on Living Conditions and Social Protection,” “Strengthening Management of Recruitment Agents,” “Increasing Monitoring and Control Capacity,” “Strengthening Management of Foreign-flagged Fishing Vessels,” “Establishing and Deepening International Cooperation,” and “Promoting Mutually-Beneficial Partnerships”. In order to fully implement the Action Plan, the Fisheries Agency has been collaborating with multiple relevant ministries to take specific actions in a multi-faceted and systematic manner. Besides, the “Regulations on the Authorization and Management of Overseas Employment of Foreign Crew Members” were amended at the meantime by the Agency, and the key amendments include raising the minimum wage from US$450 to US$550 per month, setting the standard of minimum daily rest hours in line with the ILO C188 Convention, and increasing the limit of death insurance for fishing crews to NTD 1,500,000, providing a pay-as-you-go medical insurance with a limit of NTD 300,000, strengthening the qualifications and management of recruitment agents. With all these works be done, the Agency expects the rights and benefits of migrant fishermen working on Taiwanese fishing vessels can be further safeguarded.
Regarding how to remove a good from the list of TVPRA, the U.S. DOL/ILAB emphasized that reducing the prevalence of forced labor is the key. The U.S. especially noticed that Taiwan would like to have more inspectors to conduct labor inspections and also provide additional measures on safeguarding the rights and welfare of migrant fishermen on Taiwanese fishing vessels. With that, the U.S. hope the prevalence of forced labor can be reduced; moreover, with the implementation of social protection program and the establishment of migrant fishermen unions, the U.S. also look forward to seeing Taiwan to have a better social mechanism on monitoring the fishery labor rights.
Finally, the Fisheries Agency stated that after this meeting, the United States should have a better understanding of Taiwan's policy on improving the human rights of migrant fishermen, and on the other hand, Taiwan has learned the experience and practices from the United States. In addition, , the Fisheries Agency also visited the Greenpeace USA branch office, and conveyed Taiwan’s strong supports and efforts on improving and safeguarding the rights and benefits of migrant fishermen. The agency would especially like to thank the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States for its good job in arranging this meeting. The Agency emphasized that the cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. on the migrant fishermen will be continued with a shared goal of safeguarding the human rights and sustainable development of the fishery industry.
Contact Person: Mr. Kuo-Ping Lin, Deputy Director-General of the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan