The Consul at Taihoku (Ketcham) to the Governor General of the Philippine Islands (Roosevelt) 53

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Governor-General of the measures recently enacted by the Taiwan Government General for the control of Japanese fishing vessels in the seas south of Taiwan.

This consulate had some correspondence in October and November 1931 with the Insular Collector of Customs of the Philippine Islands, relative to complaints of the Philippine Government that Japanese and Taiwan registered fishing launches were making unlawful incursions into Philippine jurisdictional waters.

It has been ascertained that the Japanese Consul General in Manila and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs at Tokyo, have recently called the attention of the Taiwan Government General to the fact that in recent years there have been many cases where Japanese fishing boats having registry in Taiwan, have drifted into Philippine territorial waters due to weather or other causes, and that they have been detained by the Philippine Government on suspicion of illegal fishing and trade. The Philippine Government, it is stated, has decided to use patrol boats to guard against these intrusions, and the repetition of such cases will have an undesirable effect on the friendly relations between Japan and the Philippine Islands, and will adversely affect the activities of Japanese residents in the Philippine Islands.

The Taiwan Government General in reply informed the Foreign Office at Tokyo and other interested parties that thus far there has been no special control over Taiwan registered vessels engaged in fishing in the seas south of the Philippines, and that this lack of control has led to marine accidents and international troubles. The vessels referred to are engaged particularly in fishing for tunny, spearfish and shark.

Accordingly, to remedy this situation, amendments have been made to the Regulations Governing Enforcement of the Fishing Law under [Page 743] Taiwan Government General Order No. 33 of July 2, 1932, and the following regulations are established for control of such fishing:

(a) Motor fishing craft engaged in fishing in the seas south of 21 degrees Latitude North are required to obtain licenses from the Governor-General of Taiwan.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The regulations shall take effect from July 2, 1932, but shall not apply to a person who is engaged in fishing in the seas south of 21 degrees Latitude North at the time of promulgation of these regulations with a vessel of more than 20 gross tons, until he has returned to his port of registry.

Local governors in Taiwan have been notified regarding enforcement of the regulations. The Governor of Takao Province has been instructed to use his good offices in urging in the future establishment of some special organization of fishermen engaged in fishing in the seas south of the Philippine Islands in order that relief may be extended in case of marine accidents or other troubles.

Illegal fishing or trade within the territorial waters of the Philippine Islands is considered to be outside the jurisdiction of the Taiwan Government General, but it is desired to strictly draw the attention of interested parties to the necessity of prompt compliance with the new fishing regulations.

It is believed that the new regulations will result in fewer violations of Philippine territorial waters by fishing vessels registered in Taiwan, and the new markings of Taiwan fishing boats, should make it easier for the Philippine Customs authorities to identify and apprehend any Taiwan fishing vessels, which may be intruding illegally in Philippine waters.

Respectfully yours,

John B. Ketcham
  1. Copy forwarded to the Department by the Consul at Taihoku, without covering, despatch; received September 15, 1932.