TAIPEI – Taiwan’s fishing authorities said Friday they will punish a domestic fishing boat that was found engaged in illegal fishing around the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands.
Fisheries Agency Deputy Director General Tsay Tzu-yaw said a preliminary investigation indicates the Taiwanese trawler Chuan Ji Ching 326 was fishing outside the permitted waters stipulated in the recently signed Japan-Taiwan fisheries pact.
“We will mete out appropriate punishment according to the law,” Tsay said.
The trawler was caught by the Japan Coast Guard at around 7 p.m. Wednesday for fishing outside the waters subject to the Japan-Taiwan agreement, which was signed in April 2013 to mollify those angered by Japan’s effective nationalization of the uninhabited island chain in 2012. The isles are claimed by both China and Taiwan.
The Taiwanese fishermen repelled the Japan Coast Guard’s attempt to board the ship and sailed away, radioing the Taiwan Coast Guard for assistance.
Responding to the trawler’s call, a Taiwan Coast Guard vessel patrolling in the vicinity arrived at the scene shortly after and escorted the vessel to Nanfangao, a port in northern Taiwan.
Investigations by the Fisheries Agency and the Coast Guard Administration concluded that the trawler did not have an official license to operate in the area.
Taiwan and Japan signed a fisheries agreement in April last year and worked out the regulations for the pact in January. The pact allows Taiwanese trawlers to operate in what Japan regards as its exclusive economic zone near the Senkakus, claimed as Tiaoyutai by Taiwan and Diaoyu by China.
Taiwanese and Japanese fishermen began fishing under the new rules last month.
The Japan Coast Guard has beefed up its presence in the waters around the areas covered by the pact at the request of fishermen in Okinawa Prefecture who object to the deal.
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