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ROC likely to join fishery commission by year-end

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday that it expects Taiwan to join the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC), a soon-to-be-established regional organization that would regulate all deep-sea fisheries in the northern Pacific Ocean, by the end of the year.

Tom Chou (周台竹), director general of MOFA's Department of International Organizations, said yesterday that Taiwan's Legislative Yuan had already approved a treaty on Dec. 10, 2013 which paves the way for Taiwan to join the NPFC.

The treaty will come into force after promulgation by the president.

After the treaty comes into effect, which is expected to take place before the end of this year, Taiwan will submit legal documents to become a member of the organization, Chou said.

The R.O.C. was the third country to sign the convention, following the U.S. and Japan.

Taiwan, however, which plans to accede to the pact under the designation of “Chinese Taipei,”would be the only country to participate in the organization as a “fishing entity” and not as a contracting party, he said.

As one of the world's biggest deep-sea fishing nations, Taiwan has already joined five other similar regional fishery organizations under the name of Chinese Taipei.

The five organizations are: the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean, and the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization, Chou said.

Chou said the nation's fishing rights in the North Pacific and its interests in the region's offshore fishing industry will be better protected after the country obtains membership in the NPFC.

In the future, Taiwan will make cases for membership in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and in regional fisheries bodies in the Atlantic Ocean, according to MOFA.

Taiwan a Global Deep-Sea Fishing Powerhouse

The range of operations of Taiwan's deep-sea fisheries covers the major oceans of the world, with fishery types including long-line tuna fishing and tuna purse seine fishing.

In 2012, the annual production for Taiwan's deep-sea fisheries stood at around 726,775 tons, with a value exceeding NT$50 billion, MOFA said.

This outstanding performance earned Taiwan a ranking among the top-six deep-sea fishing countries in the world, it said.

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