TAIWAN and the Philippines wrapped up two days of fisheries talks on Tuesday in Taipei, making progress in law enforcement and protecting the safety of Taiwanese fishermen operating in the two nations’ overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs).
“Taipei and Manila agreed to establish a technical working group responsible for issues related to fisheries cooperation such as managing and conserving resources, as well as delineating boundaries,” an official from the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.
Raymond L. S. Wang, Taiwan representative to the Philippines, and his Filipino counterpart Amadeo Perez Jr. participated in the talks, which reviewed and reaffirmed conclusions reached during a June 14 preparatory meeting.
These conclusions include avoiding the use of force in the implementation of fisheries laws and relevant regulations; establishing a cooperative mechanism for enforcing fishing regulations in overlapping EEZs and advising of enforcement procedures; and setting up a no-delay reporting mechanism for fishery-related incidents and securing the release of detained fishing vessels and crews.
“The mechanisms and procedures, including the establishment of an emergency hotline, have now been put in place with immediate effect,” the MOFA official said.
“Both countries agreed to fully execute implementation details, signifying concrete results in efforts consolidating bilateral substantial fishery cooperation.”
An example of the two sides’ commitment to this successful approach, the MOFA official said, is the fining and release on September 11 of a Taiwanese fisherman who was detained by Philippine authorities for operating in its territorial waters.
The MOFA official said the Philippines is working on amending its domestic laws with immediate effect to avoid the use of force or violence during fishery patrols, which is only acceptable if the lives of its maritime law enforcement officers are at risk.