30% of fishing boats allegedly breach migrant employment rules

Taipei, About 30 percent of Taiwanese fishing boat operators who employ foreign crew are allegedly in violation of regulations governing working hours and wages, the Fisheries Agency (FA) under the Council of Agriculture (COA) reported Thursday.

Wang Mao-cheng (???), an FA deputy section chief, said that agency officials visited 133 foreign crew members aboard 65 Taiwanese long-line fishing vessels during an investigation into their working conditions since the Regulations on the Authorization and Management of Overseas Employment of Foreign Crew Members took effect Jan. 20, 2017, and has helped crew members get back seven passports, recover US$8,340 in back pay and US$1,596 in guarantee deposits.

Meanwhile, 22 fishing ships were found to have illegally hired foreign crew, 12 of which have been slapped with fines ranging from NT$100,000-NT$250,000 (US$3,420-US$8,550) for serious offenses, and have had their licenses revoked and operations suspended, COA Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (???) said.

Under the new regulations, foreign crew members are entitled to at least 10 hours of rest each day and a minimum of four days off each month, Wang said.

Crew members are also covered by insurance and entitled to transportation reimbursements to and from their home countries, according to Wang.

FA Director-General Huang Hung-yen (???) also said that the regulations contain measures to better protect migrant fishermen's rights, including setting the minimum monthly wage at US$450 for fishermen at sea, which is higher than the average of US$350 offered in Japan.

The government is working to further increase wages for migrant fishermen, he added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel