Mon, Jun 18, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Whale watchers in Hualien exceeded 100,000 last year
大「鯨」奇/去年破十萬人次 賞鯨創紀錄

A whale comes up for air off the coast of Hualien County on June 21 last year.

Photo: Hua Meng-ching, Liberty Times

Whale watching in the Hualien area was apparently resuscitated last year. For the first time in a decade, the number of whale watchers surpassed the 100,000 mark. The Hualien Fisherman’s Association will make a 30-second long commercial in an all-out effort to promote whale watching in the area. They hope this year’s turnout will be as good as last year’s.

Huang Yao-hsing, head of Hualien County’s Fisheries and Husbandries Section under the Bureau of Agriculture, says that a new record has been set for the number of whale watchers in the area, exceeding 100,000 for the first time in a decade. Compared to the annual average of between 70,000 and 80,000 in previous years, it is a significant increase and shows that whale watching is once again popular among tourists, he says.

Wang Teng-yi, chairman of the Hualien Fisherman’s Association, says that besides an abundance of beautiful landscapes that one can enjoy from the ocean, there are also plenty of whales and dolphins to marvel at as they jump out of the water in the Pacific coastal area. He also says that regardless of whether you depart from the Hualien or Shihti fishing harbors, the chances of seeing whales and dolphins in the area is as high as 97 percent, meaning one’s chances of leaving empty-handed are quite slim.

In order to popularize and promote local whale watching activities, the Hualien Fishing Association is making a 30-second long whale watching commercial, which they hope to air on non-profit television stations to boost the image of whale watching in Hualien, widely recognized as Taiwan’s original whale watching hotspot. The association welcomes tourists from across the nation to come and experience the delight of whale watching during the summer vacation.

Huang says that out of all of Taiwan’s tourist areas, Hualien receives the greatest number of whale watching certificates from the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Agency, and that four out of the eight government-certified whale watching locations in Taiwan are in Hualien County. Not only has Hualien received the most whale watching certificates, the Shihti Fishing Harbor was voted one of Taiwan’s 10 most gorgeous fishing harbors by Taiyi Advertising Inc. Aside from strengthening the development of the recreational fishing industry, whale watching also benefits other tourist industries and activities, such as recreational tourism, farming and fishing tours, bed and breakfasts, Aboriginal culture and art, specialty foods and beverages, and dance performances, making whale watching a crucial part of Hualien County’s tourist industry.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)







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