Tsai inaugurates new council aimed at maritime protection, marine research

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Apr 29, 2018 - Page 1

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday inaugurated the Ocean Affairs Council in Kaohsiung, with council Minister Hwung Hwung-hweng (黃煌煇) vowing to boost coastal security and build up the nation’s marine industry.

The council — the first second-level government agency established in the city — is to oversee the Coast Guard Administration and the newly established Marine Ecology Protection Agency and National Ocean Research Institute.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) and Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊), a former Kaohsiung mayor, accompanied Tsai in opening the council at the city’s Software Park.

The council has three tasks: completing regulations about marine affairs and the protection of marine ecosystems; following policies to build up the nation’s marine industry; and supporting research on marine science, which includes cultivating talent, Tsai said.

A nation with strong high-tech capabilities, Taiwan should also become a nation of marine industry, said Hwung, 72, a hydraulic engineer and former president of National Cheng Kung University.

Although Taiwan is an island, most Taiwanese have been distant toward or even scared of the ocean, especially so during the Martial Law era, he said.

With the nation gradually realizing the importance of its marine resources, the then-Democratic Progressive Party administration in 2004 established a task force to promote maritime affairs that ultimately led to the establishment of the council, he said.

Hwung said he would instruct the coast guard to boost its technological capabilities to guard against smuggling and illegal immigration.

He would hold negotiations to protect fishers’ security in the nation’s exclusive economic zones that overlap with those of other nations, Hwung said.

The council would identify what marine resources in the nation’s surroundings could be utilized, while promoting the sustainability of resources, he added.

It would also boost research on marine ecosystems, Hwung said.

He praised council Deputy Minister Lee Chung-wei (李仲威), a former director-general of the Coast Guard Administration, for his achievements in cracking down on smuggling and illegal immigration, as well as in rescue duties.

The other council deputy minister, Chen Yang-yi (陳陽益), a former vice president of National Sun Yat-sen University, is an expert in hydraulic and civil engineering.

Additional reporting by CNA