Disappointment in Okinawa after unsuccessful Taiwan-Japan fishery talks

Disappointment in Okinawa after unsuccessful Taiwan-Japan fishery talks

Government and Okinawan fishing industry officials participate in a meeting to decide fishing rules for 2016 under the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement on March 2 in Taipei.


March 8, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Taiwan-Japan Fishery Talks were held from March 2 to 4. At the meeting, officials decided that the 2016 Bluefin Tuna Fishing Season Fishing Rule (April to July quarter) will adhere to the 15-year rule, in accordance with the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement. The meeting focused mostly on the contact systems and recovery process when retrieving fishing equipment drifting outside the designated zones, suggested by Taiwan. The Taiwanese side steered the meeting, while the Japanese side was unable to reap any benefits. Members of the Okinawan fishery industry are disappointed with the results of the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Japan had requested Taiwan give specific examples of measures to prevent fishing equipment drifting beyond zones. However, they did not receive any satisfying explanations from the Taiwanese side, even at the actual meeting.

Moreover, there was little discussion on demands made by the Okinawan fishing industry. They had been requesting an expansion of fishing grounds for orderly fishing in the triangle area north of the Yaeyama Islands. Kameichi Uehara, President of the Okinawa Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative said, “Before we had a chance to explain why we wanted an expansion, the Taiwanese side began to make their demands, and we ended up responding to those claims.” In contrast to Japan’s demands for an expansion, Taiwan requested for a reduction in the area for orderly fishing. The two sides have decided to reconvene next year for more discussions, after failing to reach a consensus.

In addition, both sides decided to form a special committee to hold further constructive negotiations. Their objective would be to establish rules regarding orderly fishing in the triangle area north of the Yaeyama Islands for fiscal 2017. However, Kiyoshi Ganeko, Union President of Okinawa Fisheries Cooperative said, “We are merely repeating the same demands all over again.”

The agreed upon fishing area in the pact is within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundaries according to international law. However, Taiwan maintains its hardline position that it is Taiwan’s EEZ.

Ganeko said, “We need to come up with negotiation strategies in effectively negotiating with Taiwan and achieve a rule in the long-run that would be beneficial to Japan.”

(Translation by T&CT, Kaya Doi)

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