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Wanted: 500 Indonesian hands on deck

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- One fishing company is seeking 500 fishermen from eastern Papua, Indonesia, to work on Taiwanese vessels.

The Taiwan company has asked a Jakarta-based personnel agency to recruit 500 fishermen, reported Indonesia's state news agency earlier this week.

Tinus Wabiser, a recruiter at PT. AAD Pratama Karya, said the search has already begun in several regions of Papua. The local government will facilitate personnel training so that candidates meet labor standards, he continued, as quoted in Antara News.

Back in Taiwan, the Central News Agency (CNA) said that the outsourcing of fisheries recruitment is due partly to the relatively cheap cost of migrant labor.

Other causes named by Taiwan International Workers Association (TIWA, 國際勞協) are the relocation of fisheries fleets, as well as the increased unwillingness of Taiwan youth to take to the seas, according to CNA.

Taiwan has recruited migrant workers as fishermen since 1992. At present there are 6,600 fishermen who hail from the Philippines and Indonesia, making up less than 2 percent of Taiwan's total migrant workforce. These migrant fishermen are concentrated in coastal regions like Hualien and Taitung, according to TIWA.

TIWA is a nonprofit group that facilitates communication between migrant workers and the local community in Taiwan and advocates for migrant workers' rights.

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