Our Readers' Opinions
March 16, 2007
O’Neal: Taiwan bad for our health, bad for economy


EDITOR: Fish oils prevent and may help to ameliorate heart disease, Alzheimers, arthritis, depression, cancer, age-related memory loss, diabetes, angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure and strokes.

Fish oils help prevent blood clotting, reduce blood pressure and stabilize the heart rhythm. Children who regularly eat fresh, oily fish have a four times lower risk of developing asthma than children who rarely eat such fish.{{more}}

Fish is vital for SVG food security, but we cannot get enough of it.

The bulk of the returns worldwide, both from legally and illegally caught fish, go to nations like Taiwan. It is disturbingly easy to become a fishing pirate. Just with the click of a computer mouse, for as little as $500 and sometimes in just 24 hours, flags can be bought over the internet from countries such as Panama, Belize, Honduras and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

It is ironic that Taiwan fishes under of flag of convenience from SVG and makes millions, yet we cannot get enough fish and our economy is in serious trouble.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas cut Taiwan’s total allowable catch quota for Atlantic big-eye tuna by 70 percent. This is the most severe punitive action taken in the history of the international fishery industry. The international community can no longer tolerate over-fishing, illegal fishing under a flag of convenience and boosting catch by “fish laundering” by Taiwanese tuna fishing boats. It is indicative also of the ‘ethics’ of Taiwan.

In 2002, Taiwan produced US$2.7 billion worth of fish. Of this, 49.42 percent came from deep-sea fishing, About 39 percent of Taiwan’s total production was exported, with skipjack, squid, yellow-fin tuna, and tilapia as the leading exports.

Our relationship with Taiwan is damaging our country and people, and on balance, beneficial only to Taiwan. The average Taiwanese citizen earns

EC$ 68,563 each year. Taiwan imports approximately EC$ 5.38 billion’s worth of vegetable products each year. Yet, to assist our country’s development it has not even imported one banana from us. Taiwan has the world’s third highest reserve of foreign exchange and gold, approximately EC$668 billion.

Taiwan has gained hundreds of millions of EC dollars by fishing in the Atlantic Ocean under SVG’s flag of convenience. It has approximately 115 ships that carry our flag and make money from us – not one ship employs a Vincentian.

For the benefit of our nation, the NDP and ULP regimes should step aside and leave the visionary SVG Green Party to competently run the economy, if they wish to continue their relationship with Taiwan. SVG Green Party has the expertise. A joint-venture on our fishing licence would bring in hundreds of million of dollars.

When Taiwan donates money to us, they are donating our own money back to us – and we have to bow and be grateful for this! If they gave back the hundreds of millions they have earned from fishing, every citizen in SVG would be an instant millionaire. Why after so long are we still eating from the hand of Taiwan? They get the fish and we get the bones.

SVG Green Party