Exceptional Zone at Sea and Dysfunctionality of law?

Future policies on migrant fishers and marine life

Organized by

International Institute for Cultural Studies (ICCS) & School of Law

National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU)

 Co-organized by

Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes – Global Humanities Institute (CHCI-GHI) “Migration, Logistics and Unequal Citizens in Contemporary Global Context”

Date & Time:May 26, 1:00~6:00 pm (TAIPEI TIME)

Due to the recent Covid-19 situation in Taiwan, this event will be fully held online (Webinar) using ZOOM. We will send the link one day prior to the event.


Online Participants Via Zoom
http://bit.ly/3aAEuwP or scan the QR Code on the side)

Taiwan possesses one of the most impressive offshore fishing vessel fleets in the world. The country’s fishing industry also has a staggeringly large number of marine catches and employs a diverse group of international foreign fishermen. However, the industry has long been accused of ongoing forced labour, exploitation and illegal catching which prompted the European Union, the U.S. government, and international human rights and environmental organizations to closely monitor the situation for years. Apart from the amended three Fisheries-related acts and increased penalties against illegal activities conducted by the flag of convenience (FOC) ships, we are left to wonder what more needs to be done to solve the ongoing problems?

With such concerns, this forum brings the following panels to explore the issue from different angles —(1)Investigation Report by The Reporter: Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance;(2)We are on the front line of the fishing port: sharing experiences of foreign fishermen;(3)From the Perspective of Laws: Future Policies on Migrant Fishers and Marine Live of Taiwan Fishing Industries.

This forum aims to inquire about the challenges in protecting foreign fishermen’s rights within the offshore fishing industry. As such, we invite The Reporter team who produced investigation reporting on the offshore fishing ground across 5 years of following and observation, the representative from The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Seamen’s / Fishermen’s Service Center (PCTSFSC) and Stella Maris Kaohsiung, and international laws scholar Prof. Lee Ming-Bin and labour laws scholar Assoc. Prof. Lin Liang-Jung, to deliberate the following questions:

  1. Why human trafficking, forced labour, maltreatment and fishermen deaths has been constant aboard offshore fishing vessels?
  2. Does exceptionality of the offshore fishing ground or dysfunctionality of law contribute to the illegal activities on the offshore fishing ground?
  3. Who should shoulder the responsibility of protecting foreign fishermen on the offshore fishing vessels and restricting IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) activities? How national and international laws and regulations can work within this context?
  4. What legal loopholes enable the constant abuse of foreign fishermen who work at the flag of convenience (FOC) ship?
  5. Does the exceptionality of law at the sea contribute to the dysfunctionality of offshore fishermen protection law?
  6. How to co-reflect the flaws within Taiwan’s labour laws and marine conservation laws.





全球人文研究中心及機構聯盟– 2021年全球人文研究機構(CHCI-GHI)“當前全球脈絡下的移動、物流部署與不平等公民”

日期與時間:5 月 26 日,下午13:00 至傍晚 18:00(台北時間)


http://bit.ly/3aAEuwP (請掃旁邊的 QR 碼)



擁有世界屬一屬二遠洋漁船的台灣,有著人數和國籍多元的外籍漁工、有著驚人捕撈量,但為何「血汗海鮮」、「血汗勞動」之名無法去除?為何台灣陸續被歐盟、美國政府、國際人權與環境組織緊盯? 遠洋三法的修訂、權宜船違法的罰責提高,究竟(未)解決哪些問題?



  • 為何在遠洋漁船上,頻繁出現人口販賣、強迫勞動、暴力虐待甚至漁工喪命的事故?
  • 海上魚場所發生的各種違法行為,是因為海洋是法律的例外之域,或是法律完全失靈?
  • 誰應該肩負起保護遠洋勞動外籍漁工以及限制遠洋漁業違規非法漁撈的責任?國家和國際法規如何可以發揮作用?
  • 那些在「權宜船」工作的漁工,是在什麼樣的法律漏洞之下持續存在,又如何遭受重重剝削呢?
  • 遠洋漁工是否身處海上例外法域、讓保障勞權的法律失靈?
  • 如何共同反思台灣勞權政策與海洋生命保育問題?




1:00~2:00 PM


(three Speakers @20 minutes each)




2:00~2.30 PM 問答環節)
2.30~2.45PM /休息時間




我們在漁港前線 ─ 外籍漁工服務經驗分享


3.10~3.35PM 關心外籍漁工的呼籲


3.35~3.45PM 休息時間



3.45~4.10PM 國立中正大學財經法律學系副教授李孟玢
4.10~4.35PM  國立政治大學法學院副教授林良榮
4.35~4.55PM 休息時間
4.55~5.55PM 綜合討論與問答環節


5.55PM 晚餐



Panel 1.  Investigation Report by The Reporter: Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance

Chair: Prof. Joyce C.H. Liu (ICCS, NYCU)

Title: Falsification, Exploitation and Insufficient Governance-What we have discovered after five years of investigation reports trilogy.


Speakers: (3 people from The Reporter)
Sherry Lee(Editor in Chief) 總編輯李雪莉,Journalist (Will Yang) 記者楊智強,Haohsiang ko(Data Journalist) 數據記者柯皓翔


Ever since the Reporter embarked on the investigation and tracking of the offshore fishing industry, and subsequently published “The Fishing Ground of Blood and Tear” investigative reports trilogy, our team still has not forgotten our attention to Taiwan one-of-the kind offshore fishing industry, its diverse number of foreign fishermen and extraordinary catches. However, it has rarely been known what exactly happens on fishing vessels and the reason for constant scrutiny by the European Union, US government and international human rights and environmental organizations. In 2016, our first part of the report “Counterfeiting, Exploitation, Fishing Ground of Blood and Tears” aimed to systematically expose the foundation of Taiwan’s prided offshore fishing industry is made possible by the exploitation of labour and resources. In 2018, we launched the second part of the report, titled “Human Trafficking at Sea” to further expose the fishermen recruitment agencies, and reveals how Taiwan has been recruiting fishermen from poor countries, the process of shaping the “stock labour” perception and its impact on recruitment. In September 2020, we launched the final part of the report, titled: “Insufficient of offshore Governance”. However, after five years of three-part reports, the amendment of three offshore fishing-related laws and massive penalties to the offenders, has the falsification and exploitation in the industry subsided? We combed through the four-years record of the Fisheries Department and 520 penalties, trying to see the changes that the fishery industry is undergoing. The Reporter team will briefly share the experience of producing the trilogy in the past five years, the breakthrough and the history of each of the trilogy. This sharing will mostly focus on the second and the third reports, especially on the self-contained labour intermediary, fisher vessels owner‘s thought and the complicated number of government fines, laws or regulations.


5年前《報導者》開啟遠洋的調查追蹤後,完成《血淚漁場》的調查報導,這幾年,我們始終沒忘卻關注擁有世界屬一屬二遠洋漁船的台灣,有著人數和國籍多元的外籍漁工、有著驚人捕撈量,但究竟在神祕的遠洋漁船上頭發生什麼事?為何台灣陸續被歐盟、美國政府、國際人權與環境組織緊盯? 2016年的一部曲「造假・剝削・血淚漁場」是首次系統地揭露台灣遠洋漁業傲人實績的背後,源自於對勞工與資源的剝削。2018我們推出二部曲「海上人口販運」,進一步突破人力仲介的環節,把台灣人如何向貧窮國家聘僱漁工,將漁工視為「庫存品」的過程和影響,一一揭露。2020年9月我們展開三部曲「未竟的遠洋治理」。經歷五年,遠洋三法的修訂,以及大量裁罰,產業裡的造假和剝削緩解了嗎?我們爬梳漁業署4年、520筆裁罰紀錄,試著看見裹著重重面紗的漁業界,正經歷的變化。《報導者》團隊將簡要分享五年內製作三部曲的心得,每一部曲的突破與歷程,此次分享著墨在二部曲與三部曲,特別是一般人較難接觸,這產業裡自成一格的遠洋仲介運作、漁老闆的思惟、政府龐雜的查罰數字與法條的背後的分享。

Panel 2.  NGOs’ On-Site Experiences: the Frontline Care for Fishers

Chair: Jonathan Parhusip (PhD Student, SRCS, NYCU)

Title: We are on the front line of the fishing port-sharing experience of foreign fishermen

Speakers: 主任  陳武璋牧師

Rev. Joshua Chen (Director of PCTSFSC, The Presbyterian Church In Taiwan ─ Seamen and Fishermen’s Service Center)(台灣基督長老教會海員漁民服務中心

Abstract: The Seafarers and Fishermen Service Center, located in the fishing port of Kaohsiung’s Qianzhen Township, shares the experience of frontline service of foreign fishermen and the challenges they face.


  1. The labour situation of foreign fishermen employed abroad
  2. The actual services situation of the Seafarers and Fishermen Service Center in Qianzhen Fishing Port
  3. Sharing the challenges faced by foreign fishermen on FOC vessels from cases that we handled.
  4. Care and support services for foreign fishermen



  1. 境外僱用外籍漁工的勞動處境




Title: The Call to Care for Fishers

Speaker: Fr. Ansensius Guntur, Cs (Stella Maris Seafarers Centre Kaohsiung)(財團法人天主教社會慈善福利基金會附設海星海員中心代表)

Taiwan Fishing Industry has experienced significant progress. It becomes the second country with the largest number of distant-water fishing fleets. It contributes billions of Taiwan dollars to the Taiwan economy. Due to shortages of workers, Taiwan has employed more than thirty thousand foreign fishers in this industry. Due to the scarcity of job opportunities in their country of origin, many southeast Asian Countries send their workers to work in Taiwan Fishing Industry.
To respond to the need to care for fishers in Taiwan, the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaohsiung has entrusted the mission to Stella Maris. Stella Maris is a catholic Institution founded 100 years ago in Glasgow (Scotland). It has around 300 centres throughout the world. In Kaohsiung, Stella Maris is established by Fr. Joseph B. Donahue in 1968. Around 200 boats and fishing vessels dock in Kaohsiung port daily. Thousands of seafarers and fishers are taking part actively in the running of this sector.

With our regular visits to the port, we come to know the living condition of the fishers. We are called to find ways to care for and help them. We offer several activities for fishers, such as: to organize activities for their wellness and mental health, to educate them on knowing your rights, to do advocacy for better policies on improving their living condition, etc. The call to care for fishers is extremely important as their living condition is not as good as the profits this industry produces.



為了回應台灣外籍漁工的關懷需求,高雄天主教總教區將這項任務託付給海星海員中心。海星海員中心是在蘇格蘭格拉斯哥發起的天主教機構,自成立100多年以來,在全球各地都設立起300多個中心,而高雄海星海員中心則是在1968年由 Joseph B. Donahue 神父發起。


Panel 3. From the Perspective of Laws: Future Policies on Migrant Fishers and Marine Live of Taiwan Fishing Industries


Chair: Assoc. Prof. Chiu Yu-Fan (School of Law, NYCU)

Title: Review of ILO188 Work in Fishing Convention under the Framework of International Human Rights Law

Speakers:Assoc. Prof. Lee Ming-Bin (Department of Financial and Economic Law, National Chung Cheng University)

Abstract: The connotation and function of Convention No. 188


  1. Why does international law specifically require countries to treat foreigners?
  2. Since there is existing international human rights law, why do we still need to discuss the protection of foreigners?
  3. Introduce the content of ILO Convention No. 188 and review the related issues.



2. 不是已經有國際人權法了,為何還需外國人保護的討論?


Title: Competition between “fishing catch” and “labour” in the international fishery market—-The pandemonium between aquatic industry interests, fishermen protection, fisheries’ survival and international pressure
Assoc. Prof. Lin Liang-jung (College of Law, National Chengchi University)

Abstract: Difficult issues that must be faced: Method to achieve common prosperity and win-win in the development of fishery from the common history of the industry—–the establishment of the legal system of (foreign) fishermen’s maritime labour protection


  1. The warning of the yellow card; The international realities of Taiwan being targeted by the EU and foreigners human rights policy (including labour) review: Taiwan certainly not the worst, but should it escape the responsibility?
  2. Maritime labour disputes; is it a labour protection issue for fisheries or foreign workers? Is it a problem of inshore operations, or a problem of offshore operations? Is it a matter of domestic laws and regulations, or is it a matter of recruitment channels?
  3. Institutional norms and practices; is it a question of labour protection legislation or fishery legislation? Is the Ministry of Labor or the Fisheries Agency that should be in charge? Is it a matter of the setting of labour conditions standards or the implementation of labour inspections?
  4. Legislative policies designed by the domestic legal system; should the ILO188 Convention be applied to Taiwan and how? How to deal with the labor-management relationship (fisheries and foreign workers) in the industry?








  • Wrap up Roundtables (QnA) 綜合討論與問答環節

Chair: Dr. Poonam Sharma (Postdoc. ICCS, NYCU)