Cablegate: Ait Urges Taiwan to Follow Iccat and Other Fishing

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.






E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. On December 13 and 14, OES/OMC Deputy
Director Stetson Tinkham urged Taiwan's Fisheries
Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to heed the
International Commission for the Conservation of
Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) call for Taiwan to crack down
on Taiwan fishing vessels found to be fishing in
excess of their allotted bigeye tuna quotas in the
Atlantic Ocean. Tinkham noted that failure to do so
could both erode gains Taiwan has made in
participating in international fisheries
organizations and U.S. support for such
participation. End Summary.

Issues raised on sidelines of APEC Fisheries Talks
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. While the main purpose of Tinkham's trip was to
discuss the handover of the APEC Fisheries Working
Group Lead Shepherd responsibilities, Taiwan's side
was so well prepared for the talks that time was left
for other discussions. Therefore, on behalf of AIT,
Tinkham raised ICCAT issues both on the sidelines of
his meetings with Fisheries Administrator Shieh Dah-
wen on December 13 and with Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MOFA) Deputy Director General for the
Department of North American Affairs Kelly Hsieh on
December 14.


3. At the November 2004 meeting of the International
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT),
Chinese Taipei was "identified" as having diminished the
effectiveness of ICCAT management measures. In particular,
Taiwan's fishing vessels were determined to have caught
bigeye tunas in the Atlantic Ocean and then reported them as
caught in the Pacific or Indian Oceans, a practice known as
"tuna laundering," or falsifying catch records. If this
situation is not corrected by next year's ICCAT meeting,
Chinese Taipei risks loss of its cooperating party status in
ICCAT and thus risks losing opportunities to fish for ICCAT-
managed species.

Talks with Fisheries Agency

4. Following very productive and efficient talks regarding
the hand-off of APEC Fisheries Working Group Lead Shepherd
responsibilities, Tinkham met with Fisheries Administrator
Shieh Dah-wen. Tinkham urged Shieh to do all that he can to
meet Taiwan's obligations to reduce its catch of Atlantic
bigeye tuna to make up for past overages in its ICCAT catch
allocation in accordance with the agreement reached at the
November ICCAT meeting in New Orleans. Tinkham noted that a
failure to do so could diminish Taiwan's ability to take
full advantage of its role as APEC Fisheries Working Group
Lead Shepherd. He further noted the great progress both
sides have accomplished in finding ways for Taiwan to fully
participate in numerous regional fisheries organizations.
He reiterated the statements made at the ICCAT meeting by
OES Deputy Assistant Secretary David Balton that better
compliance was critical in order to uphold the terms of the
2002 AIT/TECRO Memorandum Of Understanding Concerning
Cooperation in Fisheries and Aquaculture. If Taiwan does
not improve its adherence to international fisheries
convention rules, AIT might withdraw from the MOU. The MOU
serves as the basis for continued U.S. efforts to assist
Taiwan in participating in fisheries organizations.
Administrator Shieh appeared to understand the message and
its significance and committed to do all he can to maintain
the very positive cooperative working relationship between
himself and his agency on behalf of TECRO and OES and the
National Marine Fisheries Service on behalf of AIT.

Talks with MOFA

5. At the early end of the APEC Fisheries Working Group
talks, on November 14, Tinkham and AIT ESTOFF visited Kelly
W. Hsieh, MOFA Deputy Director General for the Department of
North American Affairs. Tinkham reviewed Taiwan's fishing
problems and imparted AIT's hope that those problems would
not undermine gains made by Taiwan in the international
fisheries community over the past decade, which could hinder
further opportunities for Taiwan to participate in other
regional fisheries organizations. Tinkham reviewed the
problems identified at ICCAT and informed Hsieh about the
2002 AIT/TECRO MOU, from which AIT may withdraw if Taiwan
does not find a way to see that its fishermen adhere to
international fishing convention rules. Tinkham also
thanked Hsieh for Chinese Taipei's willingness to take on
the APEC Fisheries Working Group Lead Shepherd role and
urged Taiwan not to let its fishing problems undermine
opportunities such a leadership role could afford.
6. Hsieh expressed his appreciation for AIT's concern and
ongoing positive cooperation. He asked that AIT provide him
with written points on the matter. He also requested more
details about the exact purported discretions on Taiwan's

7. AIT thanked Hsieh for his time and promised to provide
written points as soon as possible.

8. Comment. Tinkham in all of his meetings made clear the
importance of reining in rogue fishermen. This challenge
was only accentuated by a Taiwan-sponsored field trip to a
fishing village on December 13, where the local guide
informed Tinkham and AIT ESTOFF that the eyes drawn on
either side of the bows of several fishing boats were
intended to symbolize fishermen's efforts to see and move
toward fish below water and see and move away from
government officials above water. End Comment.

9. This report has been cleared by State/OES/OMC.

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