The fishery talks between Japan and Taiwan was held for the second round this year on Thursday at Yilan County. Attending the two-day talks were the representatives of Taiwan’s fishing associations and officials from both countries’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fisheries Agency to discuss several issues facing the two countries’ fishermen in the common fishing grounds established in the agreement that was finalized in April this year.
Although there was a first round of talks in May of this year in Okinawa, they were not able to reach any concrete consensus over issues that threaten to disrupt the livelihood of the fishermen. One of the reported problems was that the fishing gear of both sets of groups become entwined because the Japanese longline vessels use their gear in a north-south direction, while the Taiwanese fishing boats go through the east-west direction. The first day of the talks discussed this particular problem. Japan is hoping that the Taiwanese vessels will start deploying their lines in the north-south direction and that each ship should maintain a distance of 4 nautical miles as compared to the current one which is just one nautical mile.
But Chen Chun-sheng, head of the Suao Fishermen’s Association, said that if they were to agree to this proposal, the number of Taiwanese ships that ply the overlapping areas with Japan would have to be reduced to 50. Currently, they have 150 vessels operating in the Taiwan-Japan waters, as compared to Japan’s 12. Bringing down that number to 50 would have serious impacts on their fishing hauls. The agreement that came this year after 17 years of on and off negotiations states that the two countries’ fishing vessels can move around freely in a 74,300-square-kilometer area near the disputed islands of Senkaku that are being claimed by both China (calling them Diaoyu) and Taiwan (referring to the islands as Diaoyutai). It also gave the Taiwanese an extra 4,530 square kilometers where they will not be harangued by Japanese authorities.
[ via Focus Taiwan ]