Fishery in Taiwan
Fishery, in a broad definition, is an economic activity by humans to collect fauna and flora in waters. Fishery resources cover the biota current in use or to be discovered. A wide spectrum of fishing tools has been discovered in Taiwan's prehistoric remains, which indicates the long fishery history. In the neo-lith Taiwan, about 4,000 years ago, residents already applied rocks, bones or shells to fish on the beach. As such, fishery has long been a way for living for people in Taiwan.
Surrounded by seas, Taiwan has a coast line longer than 1,600 kilometers, and more than 70 islands and islets. A rich diversity of marine animals visit here from time to time, following nutrients in different ocean currents. Together, they enrich the marine resources. High-temperature and high-nutrient Japan Current originates in the Pacific Ocean at the north of the equator. Its main current flows through Eastern Taiwan, and some of the branches go into Taiwan Strait.
In the west coast of Taiwan, vapor mass goes northbound from the South China Sea, and coastal currents go southbound along Mainland China. The two meet and create excellent fish field around Taiwan, abundant in marine animals, benthic and dormouse alike. Some 10% of the world's marine species are found around Taiwan. They include 500 kinds of seaweeds, 2,500 to 3,000 kinds of mollusks with spiral shells, shellfish, octopus, squid, 300 kinds of crabs, 270 kinds of shrimps and crayfish, and more than 2,600 kinds of fish. Of those, 2,500 are seawater fish and 230 are brackish fish, including 80 kinds who live in pure freshwater and some 140 that live in estuaries where tides and freshwater interact. All of these contribute to the versatility of Taiwan's fishery, which has long been a major industry in Taiwan.
Based on the fishing areas, Taiwan's fishery can be classified into four categories: costal fishery, offshore fishery, deep sea fishery, and aquaculture.
⊕ Costal fishery :
Coastal fishery is conducted within the 12-mile territorial sea of Taiwan, or within the scope of one day round trip. The production of the fishery in recent years has been kept at about 40 thousand tons per annum. Major fishing methods are gill net, set net, beach seine, fish fries catching and other hook gear.
⊕ Offshore fishery :
Offshore fishery is performed within the exclusive economic zone extending 12 to 200 miles from the baseline. Their production has been maintained at 200-250 thousand tons per annum in recent years. Major fishing methods include trawling net, gill net, long line fishing, etc. The main fishing areas are waters around Taiwan, and extend to the East China Sea and South China Sea.
⊕ Deep sea fishery :
fishing activities performed beyond the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of Taiwan are referred to as deep sea fishery. This is a large-scale fishery, in which fishing boats sail across big oceans for days or months. Main fishing methods in these areas include tuna long line fishing, tuna purse seine fishing, squid jigging and torch light saury fishing. In recent years, the production has exceeded 800 thousand tons per annum.
⊕ Aquaculture :
In Taiwan there are three major types of aquaculture: fresh water pond aquaculture, brackish water pond aquaculture and marine culture. Fresh water ponds may be used to farm tilapia, eel, grass carp. Milkfish, mullet, grass shrimp, hard clam are common in brackish water ponds. Oyster, grouper, cobia can be found in marine culture. Thanks to the research and improvement of artificial propagation and farming technologies, nearly 100 aquatic species can now be raised in Taiwan, and they are important sources of seafood.
Fishery resources vary in species and quantity from time to time, while marine lives follow their biological traits, or are subject to environmental changes and human activities. For example, some oceanodromous species pass by certain waters in certain seasons of a year and thus become the target of nearby fishermen.
Fishery resource may be exhausted, and marine ecology may be sabotaged resulting from over-capture, ocean pollution, or inappropriate fishing and farming. Hence, it is necessary for humans to wisely use marine resources. A system of well-organized management for fishing and farming must be established to regulate how we use marine resources in a sustainable way.