TAIWAN”S FISHING INDUSTRY: A LESSON FOR ST. KITTS AND NEVIS With 22.5 million people living on a 36,000 square kilometers island, Taiwan is ranked as the 136th largest sovereign state in terms of land area and the 50th largest populated nation in the world. Over the last half century Taiwan has become well known for its resounding economy and vigorous democracy, credits due mainly to the nation’s industrious and creative people. The characteristic features of its oceanic culture and outbound people have forged Taiwan as one of the six leading nations in the world fishing industry. On the other hand, in compliance with the International Plan of Action for the Management of Fish Capacity adopted in 1999 by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the Taiwan government has implemented a series of measures such as a fishing boat reduction program to ensure the sustainable utilization of marine resources. The worldwide decline of ocean fishery stocks has provided impetus for rapid growth in fish farming, or aquaculture. Fishery products sold from farming techniques currently account for over one-quarter of human consumption. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s fish consumption will come from aquaculture in 2030. Taiwan is a world leader in aquaculture. The government has set aside areas suitable for aquaculture development, promoted automation, encouraged the use of biotechnology and improved the sales network. Aquaculture productoin has not only filled the gap of local consumption of captured fish, but has also been exported to foreign countries, especially to Japan, since the 1980s. Although duly outputs of Aquaculture fulfilled the huge demand for seafood in Taiwan’s restaurants, aquaculture has faced continuous challenges in terms of environmental protection and diseases. In recent years, Taiwan has shifted its focus to the development of net cage aquaculture with a satisfactory result. With a view to utilize the warm and steady current, more and more net cages have been established on the Taiwan Strait for cultivating more than 50 species of finfish and shellfish. Described as the ocean’s euphemistic “range”, thousands of different types and sizes of net cages have been set up off the Taiwan shore. Some of those cages are designed with entrances against current flows, which are intended to catch small fish, incidentally trap larger animals, such as whale sharks. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta retrieved some of those captured whale sharks to house in its world largest 850 million gallon tank before Taiwan government imposed a ban on their capture. Seafood is the main source of protein for human beings. Annual consumption of fishing produce in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis reached almost 2 million pounds in 2007. Less than half of fish captured come from the small-scale coastal fishing industry operated by around 100 fishermen. A 40-foot fishing boat, donated by Taiwanese government in the later half of 2007, is under construction in the Indigo Yachts. It is said that the new boat, to be launched in a couple of months, will serve as training for those fishermen who will march forward to deep-sea commercial fishing. Bearing in mind the successful shrimp farm operation in Conaree area in the 1980s, restoring or exploring aquaculture seems to be an option for this Federation. Despite the significant precipitation in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis , the sandy topsoil absorbs abundant rainfall underground immediately. So, it is rather difficult to develop land aquaculture without running natural water. Developing net cage aquaculture in the calm and peaceful Caribbean Sea is likely the best choice. Again, food and technology meet as major components of this green and economical industry.
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