06 July 2005

Fishermen warned to report whale shark catches

Fishermen must report whale shark catches and make sure that they do not exceed the annual catch quota for this year, with fines and jail terms for offenders, the Fisheries Administration under the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Monday.

In line with international whale shark protection measures, the Fisheries Administration has since 2001 established a notification system for the taking of whale sharks, a protected species for which annual catch quotas have been in place since 2002.

The quota for 2005 is 65 and so far, 50 have been caught. The fishery officials warned fishermen that after the total number of sharks killed reaches 50, they are required to report each kill on fishery radio and only when it is confirmed that the number has not exceeded 65 will they be allowed to land their catch.

If the fishermen fail to notify the authorities, they will face fines of between NT$15,000 (US$476.2) and NT$75,000. Fishery officials said that after the number reaches 65, the fishermen will be prohibited from catching whale sharks and if they continue to do so, they will face sentences of up three years in prison and fines of up to NT$150,000.

Source: www.sharktrust.org


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