The Ocean Affairs Council (a central government level-council) and Ocean Conservation Administration (a third-level agency) were established in Kaohsiung on April 28, 2018. The Ocean Conservation Administration examines changes in Taiwan’s marine life and environment in accordance with the principles of “employing objective and sustainable scientific methods”, “ensuring information disclosure”, and “engaging in public–private sector collaboration.” Additionally, the Ocean Conservation Administration uses technology to encourage public participation to raise their awareness on marine conservation.
In the first year of marine conservation, the Ocean Conservation Administration will plan and implement relevant “solutions” to ensure that marine life is provided with clean water, healthy habitat, and sustainable resource now and in the future.
We, the Ocean Conservation Administration, promote related business affairs in compliance with the Organization Act of Ocean Conservation Administration, Ocean Affairs Council, as well as the Regulations Governing the Affairs of the Ocean Conservation Administration, Ocean Affairs Council. Additionally, we are listed as a marine wildlife-related competent authority in the Marine Pollution Control Act and Wildlife Conservation Act.
Marine pollution refers to substances/activities that may pollute the marine environment, such as transported oil, marine engineering projects, marine dumping, incineration at sea, land source-based pollution, marine debris, and abandoned fishing tackle. In contrast, marine wildlife refers to animals, including protected species, such as cetaceans, sea turtles, black-footed and short-tailed albatrosses, Christmas frigatebirds, Abbott’s boobies, Green humphead parrotfish, Humphead wrasses, Pseudosiderastrea Formosa, Polycyathus chaishanensis, and various fish and shellfish.
The Ocean Affairs Council is currently formulating the Basic Act on Ocean Policy, with which we will comply in the future. Furthermore, we will promote the Marine Conservation Act to improve Taiwan’s marine conservation laws.
The Ocean Conservation Administration will recruit a maximum of 103 employees and currently schedules recruiting 57 employees. To date, 56 employees have been recruited. We consist of three business divisions: (1) Integrated Planning Division, which is responsible for integrating and promoting governance plans, formulating relevant regulations, engaging in coastal and marine management operations, and facilitating international collaboration and technical exchanges; (2) Marine Life Conservation Division, which is responsible for coordinating and implementing marine ecosystems and biodiversity-related conservation and repopulation, formulating exotic species management policies, and building germplasm and genetic databases; and (3) Marine Environmental Management Division, which is responsible for integrating marine protected areas, monitoring marine pollution, improving and monitoring marine water quality, and supervising and formulating contingency plans for preventing and controlling major marine pollution.
We will examine the effect of marine pollution on the marine environment by using scientific data. We will build biodiversity and environment-related databases and Taiwan’s ocean health index using physical, chemical, and biological marine environment indicators that we have obtained via long-term monitoring. Next, we will review and adjust our marine conservation policies accordingly.
Concerning sporadic but severe oil pollution incidents that seriously damage the marine environment, we will work closely with the Maritime and Port Bureau and local governments, while engaging in marine pollution monitoring and law enforcement, and employing the latest technology, including unmanned aerial vehicles and system simulations. Moreover, we will continue to monitor and strengthen the repopulation of damaged ecosystems before they are fully recovered. Furthermore, we will amend the Marine Pollution Control Act when necessary and establish marine pollution foundations to prevent and control marine pollution.
The Ocean Conservation Administration will comply with the Wildlife Conservation Act, actively coordinate the public and private sectors, and establish management mechanisms to realize the goals of marine conservation, sustainable development, and marine conservation-led fishing village and ecotourism prosperity.
The increasing popularity of biodiversity has enabled everyone to become familiar with said concept and act in a biodiversity-friendly manner. We will assist all county and city governments in promoting marine environment education; increase citizen participation in surveying and reporting marine debris, marine life hotspots, and stranded marine life; and build relevant platforms for Taiwanese people to learn about the status of Taiwan’s marine environment, and help rescue injured marine life. These endeavors will allow the public to understand the importance of biodiversity and marine conservation so that they will know, love, and be familiar with oceans.
Both we and the Coast Guard Administration are subsidiaries of the Ocean Affairs Council. The Coast Guard Administration has established a complete system in marine monitoring and reporting, such as marine pollution checks and stranded cetacean and sea turtle reporting. According to current staffing schedules, we will plan and coordinate marine conservation laws, while the Coast Guard Administration will enforce these laws. The two administrations will support each other and ensure complete marine conservation.
We will actively participate in and/or pay attention to marine biodiversity-related international issues and organizations, such as the Ocean and Fisheries Working Group of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), and Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). By exchanging marine conservation affair-related knowledge with the rest of the world, we will be able to acquire marine ecosystems, as well as marine pollution monitoring and handling-related information for Taiwan, promote and implement relevant policies with government departments, increase the planning and coordination of international cooperation and technical exchanges, introduce Taiwan’s marine conservation endeavors to the world, build a healthy marine environment for marine life, and provide sustainable marine resource to Taiwan’s future generations.