THE REVENUE which this country gains from registering Taiwanese fishing vessels is not worth the headache.
So, the government is discouraging the registration of these vessels and now, the number of Taiwanese fishing vessels flying a Vincentian flag has dwindled to fewer than 20.
Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves spoke about this issue on Wednesday during a press briefing at the Argyle International Airport (AIA) at which a contract was signed with Rainforest Seafoods for the establishment of a fish processing facility in Calliaqua. Gonsalves said the country discourages the registering of Taiwanese fishing vessels as we are unable to monitor their catches and this negatively affects us in relation to the International Convention on Atlantic Tuna.
In May 2017, the government received official communication from the embassy of the European Union (EU) in Barbados informing that this country was listed as a non-cooperating state as it pertains to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The listing by the EU does not relate to Vincentian fishermen but to 33 vessels owned by Taiwanese companies that were registered in SVG and therefore flew the Vincentian flag.
Despite discouraging the registration of Taiwanese fishing vessels, this country remains the 19th largest ship registry in the world with a maritime commission in Geneva and offices in Monaco and Dubai.
“We are a maritime country and we have a good maritime administration and we have good shipping laws,” said the Prime Minister.
He also added that the money brought in yearly from fisheries is in excess of $15 million but the figure could be more as there are fishermen who sell their catch at sea to vessels from Martinique and Guadeloupe while there is another country that fishes in our waters.