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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei's Economic and Cultural Office has issued a press release in response to news reports naming Taiwan as one of the top shark-catching countries in the world. The text of the press release follows:
"Taiwan regulates shark fishing and will continue implementing initiatives to promote sustainable fisheries," said James Sha, director-general of the Fisheries Agency, Jan. 27.
Sha's remarks came in response to a joint report issued by two overseas conservation groups naming Taiwan as having the world's fourth largest shark fishery haul, following Indonesia, India and Spain.
According to the report, which was produced by U.K.-based Traffic International and U.S.-based Pew Environment Group, Taiwan accounted for nearly 5.8 percent of the world's shark catch between 2000 and 2008.
Following the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's call in 2001 to conserve the threatened species, Taiwan issued its own action plan in 2006 after four years' planning, Sha said.
These measures include participating in international fishery bodies, checking local boats regularly to ensure compliance with shark fishing regulations and imposing stiff penalties on violators. The agency also created a department last year to promote environmentally responsible fishery development, he added.
Traffic and Pew also recommended that UNFAO's Committee on Fisheries perform a comprehensive review of actions being undertaken to protect sharks during its upcoming meeting next week in Rome.
Although Taiwan cannot attend the gathering given its non-member status, Sha said, the country will be represented by a local nongovernmental organization. "We will continue to promote sustainable fishery and carry on our efforts to this end."