To conserve marine wildlife, the Ocean Affairs Council complied with Article 5 of the Wildlife Conservation Act and established the Regulations Governing the Installation of the Marine Wildlife Conservation Advisory Committee on November 1, 2018. The Committee is to comprise 25–31 members to be recruited by the Ocean Affairs Council and to consist of relevant agency representatives, experts, scholars, private animal conservation group members, and indigenous people.
To recruit experts, scholars, private animal conservation group members, and indigenous people (who do not work in the public sector) with marine wildlife conservation-related practical experience and academic expertise to work in the Marine Wildlife Conservation Advisory Committee, the Ocean Affairs Council formulated the Marine Wildlife Conservation Advisory Committee Recruitment Guidelines on January 31, 2019. The Council accepted public referrals between February 1st and February 22, 2019, during which time over 70 candidates were referred.
The Ocean Conservation Administration, Forestry Bureau (of the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan), and Fisheries Agency appointed representatives and related scholars and experts to form a team that assessed the candidates’ expertise and practical experience, while considering the objectives of the Committee. In the end, 27 members were selected, approved, and hired by the Ocean Affairs Council on March 20, 2019.
The first regular meeting was held on April 10, 2019, where the participating committee members offered their opinions and suggestions concerning the categorization methods to be adopted for protected marine wildlife, official rules, procedure for assessing and classifying marine wildlife, and various standards and operation methods. Additionally, the committee members listed the following as top priorities: “protecting the habitat environment of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins”, “formulating the procedure for assessing projects conserving datan algae reefs”, and “classifying cartilaginous fish such as giant oceanic manta rays, megamouth sharks, and whale sharks as protected marine life.” The Ocean Affairs Council made amendments according to the opinions and suggestions of the committee members and will hold extraordinary meetings in the near future to continue discussions and promote marine conservation.
A review of the committee composition reveals a relatively small number of private conservation group members and indigenous people (totaling only four people), which signifies that the Committee is unable to fully reflect the opinions of private conservation groups and indigenous people on marine wildlife conservation. To ensure professionalism and representativeness, two more indigenous people who are members of the Taiwan Indigenous People Human Culture Association were added, increasing the number of committee members from 27 to 29.