Yaeyama, Miyako fishermen complain about new rules between Japan and Taiwan

February 6, 2014, Ryukyu Shimpo

On February 5, officials of the Fisheries Agency and the Okinawa Prefectural Government visited the Yaeyama and Miyako Fishery Association and explained the new fishing rules between Japan and Taiwan. The new rules were agreed upon at a meeting of the Taiwan-Japan Fishery Commission to address issues related to the regulation of fishing operations in their overlapping waters in the East China Sea. The fishing operators expressed their dissatisfaction with the content of the agreement.

Government officials asked them to accept the agreement, stating, “If there is any difficulty, we will negotiate with Taiwan next year. But first, could you operate within the rules that we agreed upon?”

In the briefing session held at the Yaeyama Fishery Association, about 15 fishermen, including the captains of tuna-fishing vessels, took part. They requested that the officials of the Fisheries Agency arrange patrol boats and set a system to monitor Taiwanese fishing vessels.

Some operators who left in the middle of the meeting expressed their dissatisfaction, saying that only four to five ships for them will be allowed to access to the waters in the northern part of the Sakishima (Yaeyama and Miyako) Islands. They criticized the agreement because there is a contradiction involved. One of the operators said, “We have to notify the Taiwanese side to operate in our waters. It is nonsense.”

About 30 members from the fishery associations of Miyako, Irabu and Ikema took part in the meeting held at the Miyako Fishery Association. According to the participants, there was a suggestion to ask to reverse the so-called special cooperative waters in next year’s negotiation.

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato)

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