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Taiwan, Japan discuss Tiaoyutai fishing rights
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-05 03:47 PM
Representatives of from Taiwan’s and Japan’s fishing industries met in Suao Thursday to discuss how to maintain order among fleets dropping their nets in waters around Tiaoyutai.

Taiwan's Fisheries Agency and Tokyo's de facto representative in Taiwan, the Interchange Association, announced Wednesday that the second meeting between Taiwanese fishermen and their Japanese counterparts would take place in Suao on Thursday.

Both sides agreed in May when they met for the first time in Okinawa's Naha that they would subsequently discuss fishing order in waters under a bilateral fisheries agreement signed in April this year.

Under the agreement, Japan and Taiwan will designate an area in Japan's exclusive economic zone as jointly managed waters where reciprocal fishing is allowed. The jointly controlled zone excludes waters 12 nautical miles surrounding the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, which Taiwan calls Tiaoyutai and China the Diaoyu Islands.

Both sides also agreed to establish a "special cooperation zone" where each party governs its own nationals and fishing vessels in accordance with its respective rules and regulations.

There are three other areas outside of Taiwan's "temporary law enforcement line" where Taiwanese fishing trawlers are allowed to operate under the agreement.

In addition, the two sides will set up a joint fishing committee to continue negotiations on issues they failed to agree upon, including fishing in waters surrounding Tiaoyutai as well as waters near the Sakishima islands.

Nothing concrete emerged from the first meeting in May.

Since the fisheries pact was signed, Japan's Fisheries Agency has been under a tremendous amount of pressure from Japanese fishermen, particularly those from Okinawa.

While some have called on the Japanese government to reduce the size of the agreed-upon area, others have complained that the pact failed to take their interests into account, saying Taiwanese trawlers have more waters to operate in and should therefore stay away from the areas covered by the agreement until new sets of fishing rules are established.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official who requested anonymity said Japanese fishermen are more concerned about fishing order in the "special cooperation zone," where fishery resources are comparatively richer.

The fisheries agreement drew expressions of ‘serious concern’ from China when it was announced in April, and the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone implemented by China last week pointedly included the Diaoyu Islands inside a corner of its boundary lines.

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