Fisheries Agency announces patrol vessel on constant deployment at Miyako

Fisheries Agency announces patrol vessel on constant deployment at Miyako

On April 13, the Fisheries Agency deployed the fisheries patrol vessel Isehama at Hirara Port in Miyako-jima.

April 14, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

It was announced on April 13 that a Fisheries Agency patrol vessel has been deployed continually at Hirara Port in Miyako-jima this month. The agency also revealed their intention to constantly deploy two fisheries patrol vessels at Ishigaki-jima, but the date for their deployment has not been finalized. This was announced by Tokuyuki Sudo, the manager of the agency’s Resources Management Department who visited Miyako-jima and Ishigaki on April 13. In response to the conclusion of the Japan-Taiwan Fisheries Agreement, the Japanese government will strengthen its crackdown on illegal fishing boats in the seas surrounding Japan.

The agency’s fisheries patrol vessels are always stationed at the mainland of Okinawa, but it is the first resident deployment in the Sakishima area.

The fisheries patrol vessel Isehama (499 tons, 17 crew) has been in Hirara Port since April 11. It is scheduled to depart on patrol on April 15. The purpose of the fisheries patrol vessel is to monitor the illegal operation of fishing boats. The agency conducts on-site inspections when they find a fishing boat suspected of illegal activity. Unlike the Japan Coast Guard’s vessels, a fisheries patrol vessel does not deal with intrusions into territorial waters. The agency has received approval from the Miyako-jima authorities to use Hirara Port for one year.

On the morning of April 13, Sudo visited Miyako-jima Mayor Toshihiko Shimoji at the city hall to thank him for granting approval to use the port. In keeping with the conclusion of the Japan-Taiwan Fisheries Agreement, he said, “We must crack down on the illegal fishing boats completely. We have a home port right here in front of us (in the waters recognized by the agreement), and it is necessary to establish a system that we can implement quickly in the case of a crisis. The Japan-Taiwan border is close to the north of the Sakishima Islands, and we have agreed on a demarcation line with Taiwan in that area. If any boat crosses the line even slightly we will come down on them hard.”

Mayor Shimoji said, “Many Taiwanese boats will come soon. We hope that the Japanese government will handle them firmly.”

On the afternoon of the same day, in a meeting with Ishigaki Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama, Sudo explained the plan for ongoing deployment of two fisheries patrol vessels at Ishigaki.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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