Fish-smuggling to mainland rises in ’10

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–Over 5,000 metric tons of live fish were smuggled into mainland China from Taiwan last year, reversing the previous smuggling into Taiwan from the mainland seen 10 years ago, Minister Wang Ginn-wang of the Cabinet-level Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said yesterday. Wang made the remarks in response to questions from Lawmaker Chen Ting-fei of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at the Interior Committee meeting of the Legislative Yuan. During the session, Lawmaker Chen said that the volume of smuggled Chinese farm and fishery products seized by the CGA so far this year has plunged sharply, reaching only 0.46 percent of the corresponding volume recorded in 2008, making the local market awash with agricultural and fishery products smuggled from mainland China. Chen continued that statistical data provided by the Council of Agriculture showed no drastic drop in the volume of smuggled agricultural and fishery products from the mainland, and therefore the CGA or the customs should have committed dereliction of their duty in cracking down on smuggling from the other side of the Taiwan Strait. But Minister Wang refuted Chen, noting that rapid economic development in mainland China has made the volume of smuggled products from the mainland drop significantly, and instead, fishery products smuggled from Taiwan into the mainland have increased sharply.

For instance, Wang said, as many as over 5,000 metric tons of coastal squid and Pacific saury (or sanma) were shipped to the mainland under the name of fish bait, as both are popular with mainland Chinese consumers. Also yesterday, Director-General Sha Chih-yi of the Fisheries Agency under the Council of Agriculture said many agricultural and fishery products have been shipped to Taiwan through legal channels in recent years as a result of rapid development of peaceful ties between both sides of the Taiwan Straits. On another front, the buying power of mainland Chinese has become increasingly strong along with China’s rapid economic growth in recent years, making shipment of fishery products to the mainland increase sharply, according to Sha.

Sha added that the global climate changes have led to a sharp shrinkage in fish catch worldwide, and both sides of the Taiwan Straits have vied to buy more fishery products.