Taiwan’s fishing officials vow action on trafficking, abuses
Taiwan's Fisheries Agency said operators found to be involved in criminal cases will be revealed shortly
Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency has said it will take corrective measures and disciplinary action against operators of fishing vessels who fail to comply with human trafficking rules or protect foreign workers.
On June 7, the agency said operators found to be involved in criminal cases will be revealed to the public in the future, Taiwan News reported.
The announcement came after a leading non-government organization last month highlighted ongoing problems and failures of Taiwanese authorities to sanction human rights abuses.
The Fisheries Agency said an investigation has been conducted into 65 offshore fishing boats and 133 crew members since January.
This had led to seven migrant workers retrieving their passports and salaries amounting to US$8,340, which were illegally held by their employers.
The agency said 30% of operators were not complying with new regulations on hiring non-Taiwanese fishing workers that took effect in January. These included minimum pay of US$450 per month, a rest from work of 10 hours a day, plus four days off a month.
Fishermen and other workers were also entitled to accident coverage, plus life and medical insurance paid by employers, with an accidental death benefit at least NT$1 million (US$0.33 million).
The agency also said Indonesian fisherman Supriyanto, who was found dead onboard a vessel, died due to sickness and was not abused prior to his death in August 2015. Details about his death were reported in a damning Greenpeace report entitled ‘Misery at Sea’.