EU to evaluate Taiwan’s efforts to fight illegal fishing

Taipei, European Commission officials will visit Taiwan to gain a better understanding of the nation's efforts to curb illegal fishing and decide whether to lift a "yellow card" warning imposed in 2015, an European Union source familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

It has been two and a half years since the EU placed Taiwan on its "yellow card" warning list in October 2015 for insufficient cooperation in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, according to the source.

Officials from the commission, the executive arm of the EU, are slated to take a fact-finding trip to Taiwan from March 13-21 to assess whether Taiwan's fisheries management and far sea fishing practices have improved, the Fisheries Agency said, adding that they are scheduled to submit a report after the visit.

The main purpose of the officials' visit to Taiwan is to review improvements made in Taiwan's regulation of its distant water fishing industry. After the visit, they are expected to make a recommendation on whether to lift the yellow card warning, the source said.

The government has fulfilled the EU's requirements over the past two and a half years, while EU officials have visited Taiwan twice a year to see whether improvements have been made, according to the Fisheries Agency.

Based on the findings of the inspection visit, EU officials will decide whether to lift the yellow card warning or issue a red card.

The yellow card is followed by a green card if issues identified are resolved or potentially a red card if they are not. A red card could lead to a ban on Taiwan's fishery products being exported to the EU, potentially resulting in an estimated NT$7 billion (US$243.6 million) in losses, according to the agency.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel