Taipei, The Fisheries Agency said Tuesday it has issued a new draft regulation to establish a system to better manage derelict fishing gear, known as “ghost gear,” that causes marine pollution and is deadly to marine wildlife.
The new measure, issued on Aug. 31 and set to take effect in July 2021, is aimed at encouraging fishing boat owners and fishermen to efficiently manage their fishing gear and equipment, said Chiu Yi-hsien (邱宜賢), a division chief at the agency.
Fishermen will be required to mark their ship identification number in their drift gill nets and other fishing gear and report any fishing gear lost when working at sea to government authorities, Chiu said.
Violators could be subject to fines ranging from NT$30,000 to NT$150,000 (US$1,033-US$5,164), according to Chiu.
Chiu’s remarks came as environmental groups urged the government on Tuesday to manage discarded or derelict fishing gear.
Taiwanese fishing boats generated about 60 metric tons of lost or abandoned fishing gear in 2019, accounting for the majority of Taiwan’s marine litter, according to data provided by Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation, citing government statistics.
With ocean pollution getting worse because of the ghost gear, the foundation called on the government to better manage it at its source to protect marine life, foundation CEO Chang Hui-chun (張卉君) said at a press conference to expose the problem.
About 300,000 dolphins and whales are found dead off coastal areas around the world every year because of being entangled in the discarded nets, according to Yen Ning (顏寧), CEO of Indigo Waters, an environmental consultancy established to tackle marine pollution.