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Dolphins killed, sharks finned by Taiwanese fishing boats

12/05 20:34

A UK-based group, Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), says it has uncovered a serious case of illegal fishing by a Taiwanese fishing vessel, involving the cruel killing of tens of thousands of dolphins and sharks, including vulnerable species and sea turtles. Taiwan has one of the largest fishing fleets in the world, but is increasingly under criticism for violating animal rights as well as human rights. The findings will put further pressure on Taiwan's Fisheries Agency, which had been accused of being too passive and turning a blind eye to such practices in the past, to do more to stop them or risk hurting the entire fishing industry and further damaging Taiwan's image. The European Union has already imposed a yellow card warning against Taiwan for illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and could issue a red card to ban Taiwanese fishery imports. Although Taiwan’s government has passed a stricter law to punish illegal fishing and sends inspectors to fishing ports in various countries, EJF says its inspections are clearly ineffective because the crews revealed they simply hid the shark fins at the bottom of the freezer under fish, to evade detection and offloaded them in the middle of the night at ports. Taiwan's Fisheries Agency says it's been informed of this case and will conduct an investigation. It says it has stepped up educating fishing boat owners, but can't rule out that some continue to violate the regulations. But EJF and others say it’s still not doing enough to root out the illegal practices even though it has the money, technology and ability to do so. Taiwan’s fleet is a key supplier to the international tuna market, especially for Japan, but also the United States and the EU. Watch this video filmed by migrant fishermen to see what happened to the dolphins and sharks. Video courtesy of Environmental Justice Foundation.

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