IICS

Important Notice:Exceptional Zone at Sea and Dysfunctionality of law? Future policies on migrant fishers and marine life

  • 2021-05-11
  • Kevin

Exceptional Zone at Sea and Dysfunctionality of law? 
Future policies on migrant fishers and marine life

Organized by 
International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS) & School of Law, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU)
 Co-organized by 
Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes - Global Humanities Institute (CHCI-GHI) “Migration, Logistics and Unequal Citizens in Contemporary Global Context”

                      Date & Time:May 26, 1:00~6:00 pm (TAIPEI TIME)

Important Notice: 
Forum will be held fully online, all are welcome to join via this link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84110488335?pwd=aDNSZEEvZ3RUdnhpd1pZM3B4bEFwQT09.

Prior registration is required. Upon successful registration, participants will receive a Zoom password by 5/25.

To participate, please register (Zoom)
http://bit.ly/3aAEuwP or scan the QR Code on the side)
  
Taiwan possesses one of the most impressive offshore fishing vessel fleets in the world. The country’s fishing industry also has a staggeringly large number of marine catches and employs a diverse group of international foreign fishermen. However, the industry has long been accused of ongoing forced labour, exploitation and illegal catching which prompted the European Union, the U.S. government, and international human rights and environmental organizations to closely monitor the situation for years. Apart from the amended three Fisheries-related acts and increased penalties against illegal activities conducted by the flag of convenience (FOC) ships, we are left to wonder what more needs to be done to solve the ongoing problems?

With such concerns, this forum brings the following panels to explore the issue from different angles —(1)Investigation Report by The Reporter: Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance;(2)We are on the front line of the fishing port: sharing experiences of foreign fishermen;(3)From the Perspective of Laws: Future Policies on Migrant Fishers and Marine Live of Taiwan Fishing Industries.

This forum aims to inquire about the challenges in protecting foreign fishermen's rights within the offshore fishing industry. As such, we invite The Reporter team who produced investigation reporting on the offshore fishing ground across 5 years of following and observation, the representative from The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Seamen’s / Fishermen’s Service Center (PCTSFSC) and Stella Maris Kaohsiung, and international laws scholar Prof. Lee Meng-Bing and labour laws scholar Assoc. Prof. Lin Liang-Jung, to deliberate the following questions: 

1.    Why human trafficking, forced labour, maltreatment and fishermen deaths has been constant aboard offshore fishing vessels?
2.    Does exceptionality of the offshore fishing ground or dysfunctionality of law contribute to the illegal activities on the offshore fishing ground?
3.    Who should shoulder the responsibility of protecting foreign fishermen on the offshore fishing vessels and restricting IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) activities? How national and international laws and regulations can work within this context?
4.    What legal loopholes enable the constant abuse of foreign fishermen who work at the flag of convenience (FOC) ship? 
5.    Does the exceptionality of law at the sea contribute to the dysfunctionality of offshore fishermen protection law?
6.    How to co-reflect the flaws within Taiwan’s labour laws and marine conservation laws.

Panel 1.  Investigation Report by The Reporter: Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance
 

Chair: Prof. Joyce C.H. Liu (ICCS, NYCU)

1:00~2:00 PM

 

(three Speakers @20 minutes each)

Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance -What we have discovered after five years of investigation reports trilogy?
Speakers: The Reporters
Sherry Lee(Editor in Chief)

Hao-Hsiang Ko(Data Journalist)

Will Yang (Journalist)

2:00~2.30 PM

Q&A

2.30~2.45PM

Break Time

Panel 2. NGOs’ On-Site Experiences: the Frontline Care for Fishers

 Chair: Jonathan Parhusip (PhD Student, SRCS, NYCU)

2.45~3.10PM

We are on the front line of the fishing port: sharing experiences of foreign fishermen
Speaker: Rev. Joshua Chen (Director, The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Seamen’s / Fishermen’s Service Center)

3.10~3.35PM

The Call to Care for Fishers
Speaker: Fr. Ansensius Guntur, Cs (Director,Stella Maris Kaohsiung)

3.35~3.45PM

Break Time

Panel 3. From the Perspective of Laws: Future Policies on Migrant Fishers and Marine Live of Taiwan Fishing Industries

 

Chair: Assoc. Prof. Chiu Yu-Fan (School of Law, NYCU)

3.45~4.10PM

Title: Review of ILO188 Work in Fishing Convention under the Framework of International Human Rights Law

Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Lee Meng-Bing (Department of Financial and Economic Law, National Chung Cheng University)

4.10~4.35PM

Title: Competition between "fishing catch" and "labour" in the international fishery market----The pandemonium between aquatic industry interests, fishermen protection, fisheries’ survival and international pressure
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Lin Liang-Jung (College of Law, National Chengchi University)

4.35~4.55PM

Break Time

4.55~5.55PM

Wrap up Roundtables (QnA)
 

Chair: Dr. Poonam Sharma (Postdoc. ICCS, NYCU)

5.55PM

Dinner

 

ABSTRACT AND SPEAKERS

Panel 1.  Investigation Report by The Reporter: Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance
 

Chair: Prof. Joyce C.H. Liu (ICCS, NYCU)
 

Title: Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance-What we have discovered after five years of investigation reports trilogy.
 

Speakers: (3 people from The Reporter)
Sherry Lee(Editor in Chief) 總編輯李雪莉,Journalist (Will Yang) 記者楊智強,Haohsiang ko(Data Journalist) 數據記者柯皓翔

Outline:
Ever since the Reporter embarked on the investigation and tracking of the offshore fishing industry, and subsequently published “The Fishing Ground of Blood and Tear” investigative reports trilogy, our team still has not forgotten our attention to Taiwan one-of-the kind offshore fishing industry, its diverse number of foreign fishermen and extraordinary catches. However, it has rarely been known what exactly happens on fishing vessels and the reason for constant scrutiny by the European Union, US government and international human rights and environmental organizations. In 2016, our first part of the report "Counterfeiting, Exploitation, Fishing Ground of Blood and Tears" aimed to systematically expose the foundation of Taiwan's prided offshore fishing industry is made possible by the exploitation of labour and resources. In 2018, we launched the second part of the report, titled "Human Trafficking at Sea" to further expose the fishermen recruitment agencies, and reveals how Taiwan has been recruiting fishermen from poor countries, the process of shaping the "stock labour" perception and its impact on recruitment. In September 2020, we launched the final part of the report, titled: "Insufficient of offshore Governance". However, after five years of three-part reports, the amendment of three offshore fishing-related laws and massive penalties to the offenders, has the falsification and exploitation in the industry subsided? We combed through the four-years record of the Fisheries Department and 520 penalties, trying to see the changes that the fishery industry is undergoing. The Reporter team will briefly share the experience of producing the trilogy in the past five years, the breakthrough and the history of each of the trilogy. This sharing will mostly focus on the second and the third reports, especially on the self-contained labour intermediary, fisher vessels owner‘s thought and the complicated number of government fines, laws or regulations.

Panel 2.  NGOs’ On-Site Experiences: the Frontline Care for Fishers 

 Chair: Jonathan Parhusip (PhD Student, SRCS, NYCU)

Title: We are on the front line of the fishing port-sharing experience of foreign fishermen
Speakers: 
Rev. Joshua Chen (Director of PCTSFSC, The Presbyterian Church In Taiwan ─ Seamen and Fishermen's Service Center)(台灣基督長老教會海員漁民服務中心)

Abstract: The Seafarers and Fishermen Service Center, located in the fishing port of Kaohsiung’s Qianzhen Township, shares the experience of frontline service of foreign fishermen and the challenges they face.
Outline: 
1. The labour situation of foreign fishermen employed abroad 
2. The actual services situation of the Seafarers and Fishermen Service Center in Qianzhen Fishing Port 
3. Sharing the challenges faced by foreign fishermen on FOC vessels from cases that we handled.
4. Care and support services for foreign fishermen


Title: The Call to Care for Fishers
Speaker: Fr. Ansensius Guntur, Cs (Stella Maris Seafarers Centre Kaohsiung)
 
Taiwan Fishing Industry has experienced significant progress. It becomes the second country with the largest number of distant-water fishing fleets. It contributes billions of Taiwan dollars to the Taiwan economy. Due to shortages of workers, Taiwan has employed more than thirty thousand foreign fishers in this industry. Due to the scarcity of job opportunities in their country of origin, many southeast Asian Countries send their workers to work in Taiwan Fishing Industry.
To respond to the need to care for fishers in Taiwan, the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaohsiung has entrusted the mission to Stella Maris. Stella Maris is a catholic Institution founded 100 years ago in Glasgow (Scotland). It has around 300 centres throughout the world. In Kaohsiung, Stella Maris is established by Fr. Joseph B. Donahue in 1968. Around 200 boats and fishing vessels dock in Kaohsiung port daily. Thousands of seafarers and fishers are taking part actively in the running of this sector.
With our regular visits to the port, we come to know the living condition of the fishers. We are called to find ways to care for and help them. We offer several activities for fishers, such as: to organize activities for their wellness and mental health, to educate them on knowing your rights, to do advocacy for better policies on improving their living condition, etc. The call to care for fishers is extremely important as their living condition is not as good as the profits this industry produces.

Panel 3. From the Perspective of Laws: Future Policies on Migrant Fishers and Marine Live of Taiwan Fishing Industries 
 

Chair: Assoc. Prof. Chiu Yu-Fan (School of Law, NYCU)
 

Title: Review of ILO188 Work in Fishing Convention under the Framework of International Human Rights Law

Speakers:Assoc. Prof. Lee Meng-Bing (Department of Financial and Economic Law, National Chung Cheng University)
Abstract: The connotation and function of Convention No. 188
Outline:
1. Why does international law specifically require countries to treat foreigners? 
2. Since there is existing international human rights law, why do we still need to discuss the protection of foreigners? 
3. Introduce the content of ILO Convention No. 188 and review the related issues. 

Title: Competition between "fishing catch" and "labour" in the international fishery market----The pandemonium between aquatic industry interests, fishermen protection, fisheries’ survival and international pressure

Assoc. Prof. Lin Liang-jung (College of Law, National Chengchi University)

Abstract: Difficult issues that must be faced: Method to achieve common prosperity and win-win in the development of fishery from the common history of the industry-----the establishment of the legal system of (foreign) fishermen's maritime labour protection

Outline: 
1. The warning of the yellow card; The international realities of Taiwan being targeted by the EU and foreigners human rights policy (including labour) review: Taiwan certainly not the worst, but should it escape the responsibility? 
2. Maritime labour disputes; is it a labour protection issue for fisheries or foreign workers? Is it a problem of inshore operations, or a problem of offshore operations? Is it a matter of domestic laws and regulations, or is it a matter of recruitment channels?
3. Institutional norms and practices; is it a question of labour protection legislation or fishery legislation? Is the Ministry of Labor or the Fisheries Agency that should be in charge? Is it a matter of the setting of labour conditions standards or the implementation of labour inspections? 
4. Legislative policies designed by the domestic legal system; should the ILO188 Convention be applied to Taiwan and how? How to deal with the labor-management relationship (fisheries and foreign workers) in the industry? 

●    Wrap up Roundtables (QnA) 
Chair: Dr. Poonam Sharma (Postdoc. ICCS, NYCU)