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List of tuna vessels to be sent to ICCAT, fishery official says

2005-11-27 / central news agency /

The nation's top fishery official said yesterday that the name list of 15 fishing vessels that will continue big-eye tuna fishing will be turned over to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna by December 20.
Hsieh Ta-wen, director of the Fisheries Administration under the Council of Agriculture, made the remarks after the ICCAT cut Taiwan's big-eye tuna catch quota in the Atlantic Ocean as a penalty for overfishing.

Hsieh said that the administration will formulate "fair and just criteria" in the coming days to select the 15 fishing vessels to continue big-eye tuna fishing.

Taiwan presently has 76 deep-sea fishing vessels specializing in catching big-eye tuna in the Atlantic. In the face of an almost 70 percent cut in Taiwan's annual big-eye tuna catch quota for 2006, only 15 of those vessels will be allowed to operate in the Atlantic in the coming year. Twenty of the ships will be used to fish for longfin tuna and the remaining 41 will be taken out of operation.

The ICCAT on Sunday slashed Taiwan's total allowable catch of big-eye tuna for 2006 by almost 70 percent to 4,600 tons from the 2005 quota of 14,900 tons. The decision was made on the last day of the ICCAT's 19th regular meeting held in Seville, Spain, after Japan proposed a quota cut citing overfishing by Taiwanese vessels.

Most of the big-eye tuna caught by Taiwanese boats are sold to Japan. The amount exported to Japan in the past two years has exceeded the total yearly quota, prompting the overfishing charge.