【Press Release】Making Taiwan Fishery More Sustainable:the first two fleets certified by ProFishLove
Post Update by 小編 on 2020-11-30 15:10:28
Making Taiwan Fishery More Sustainable
Announcing the list of the first two mackerel seine fleets certified by the
ProFishLove Ecolabel in Taiwan

    The first two certified marine-friendly fishing fleets in Taiwan that comply with the ProFishLove Ecolabel certification standard was finally born! The Taiwan Ocean Conservation and Fisheries Sustainability Foundation (TOFF) and the Fisheries Agency, Council of Agriculture of the Executive Yuan today (11/30) awarded the "Gold Certificate" of ProFishLove Ecolabel for marine wild-caught seafood to the Nanfang'ao Mackerel Taiwanese-Seine Fishing Fleet which consists of 74 fishing vessels mainly moored in Nanfang'ao Fishing Port and to Aodi Mackerel Taiwanese-seine Friendly Fleet which consists of 7 vessels mainly moored in Aodi Fishing Port. The ceremony marks a significant step forward for Taiwan fisheries to achieve the vision of responsible fisheries industry and sustainable seafood, and writes a new page in the history book.
    Chih-Sheng Chang(張致盛), the Director of the Taiwan Fisheries Agency, states that mackerel is the largest catch in Taiwan offshore fisheries, accounting for nearly 60% of the overall offshore catch per year. Taiwanese seine, an improved Danish Seine, is a fishing method catching Blue mackerel and Japan mackerel mainly conducted in the East China Sea around northeastern sea area of Taiwan. The effect of Taiwanese seine fishery management plays a vital role in the conservation of the marine living resources and its ecology in the north exclusive economic zone of Taiwan. In view of this, in 2013, the Fisheries Agency enacted the "Measures for Mackerel Fishery Management", which restricts the total number of Taiwanese seine fishing boats; also requires fishing boats to submit landing declarations and to install VMS, and establishes closed fishing periods and closed fishing areas. So far, this is the most comprehensive regulation in coastal and offshore fisheries management in Taiwan. Besides, the welfare of fishermen working for the Taiwanese seine fleet is relatively better in Taiwan fisheries. Through the certification of the ProFishLove Ecolabel, the fishery management and corporate social responsibility of the mackerel fishery industry are expected to become a model for other inshore, coastal, and offshore fisheries in Taiwan and promote the continuous upgrading of Taiwan's fisheries.

    Asoka Lin(林愛龍), Chief Executive Officer of the TOFF, said that Taiwanese environmental groups have jointly paid attention to the Taiwanese seine mackerel fishery for more than five years. The mackerel possesses all the conditions of "sustainable seafood" such as mid-to-low trophic level and migratory species. It has the potential to be a masterpiece of a win-win achievement for conservation and the fisheries. The key to success is the fishermen’s awareness and participation in fishery management. Fortunately, in order to get the Gold level, the fishing boat owners are willing to make progress, including operating the mobile phone apps to conduct electronic submission of landing declarations, so that the certification work of the assessment process moved forward so smoothly.

    Asoka Lin also pointed out that the most challenging aspect of the whole certification process is the part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of fishing vessels. Nowadays, consumers and supermarket chains hope to have safe and secured seafood, including treating fishermen kindly. Taiwanese seine fishing boats surpassed initial expectations in respects of the sanitation of fishing boats and the living environment of fishermen. TOFF usually visited the fishing boats for audits without an appointment in advance, and found that the decks, walkways, sleeping berths and kitchens of several fishing boats are very clean, and what impressive is that there is even 24-hour air-conditioning provided in the cabin. The fishermen also have considerable freedom of movement after arriving at the port. Some shipowners even purchase 10 luxurious electric scooters for the fishermen to use.

    The design of ProFishLove Ecolabel is based on the Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2009. The assessments of ProFishLove Ecolabel focus on the following four concerns: ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks, protecting the marine environment, effective fisheries management, and corporate social responsibility. The last one is a unique part of ProFishLove Ecolabel. The ProFishLove Ecolabel has a gold level with a total score of 65 points or above, and a friendly level from 50 to 64 points. For applicants who do not reach 50 points, the TOFF has another fishery improvement guidance mechanism. Asoka Lin, as CEO of the TOFF, served as the convenor of the assessment team, invited a number of marine scientists, fisheries management experts, NGO representatives, and representatives of the Fisheries Agency to form an assessment team for each application case. The team held weekly meetings and went to the ports where the fleet of fishing boats moored: Nanfangao Fishing Port, Badouzi Fishing Port, Aodi Fishing Port, and Shenao Fishing Port to carry out on-site inspection and to interview captains and fishers. Since more than 95% of the mackerel seine fishing boats have passed the EU sanitation and safety courses and inspections, the quality of the two fleets is relatively sound. Therefore, relevant ecolabel auditing work is proceeding well.

    There are two types of certification, certification of the fishery itself and certification of the chain of custody between the time the fish is harvested and the time the fish or fishery product is sold to the final consumer. Separate certificates of ProFishLove will be issued for the fishery and for the chain of custody. Today’s  certification awards ceremony is for the Taiwanese seine fishery itself.
News Contact
Taiwan Ocean Conservation and Fisheries Sustainability Foundation 
Asoka Lin, CEO, 0911-711-733
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