Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Sealife protection zones produce positive results

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

The president of the Taiwanese Coral Reef Society, Jeng Ming-shiou (鄭明修), yesterday reported that since the establishment of a sea urchin protection area in Hengchun (恆春) by an ocean protection group, the number of sea urchins has increased fivefold.

The first of its kind to be established in a town, the Hengchun ocean protection group consists mainly of locals who run snorkeling businesses.

The group established the sea urchin protection area two years ago, with the aim of protecting their "golden nest egg."

"Whenever anyone goes diving, members of the group will ask them what they are diving for. And this is very good," Jeng said, adding that any illegal behavior is punishable by law.

Following the establishment of the zone, Kenting National Park set up the Houbihu (後壁湖) ocean resource protection area, in March.

"In the six months since the protection area was established, the number of fish has increased drastically," Jeng said.

In addition to increasing in number, Jeng said that the species of fish in the fish feeding area had increased from 14 to 25.

Speaking of a visit he paid to the fish feeding area on Sept. 21, Jeng said, "Not only have the different types of fish increased, but the blue stripe snapper has increased in number from 300 to over 400. ... What I was most moved by though was the appearance of a spotted grouper. In recent years, spotted groupers have been very hard to come by in Kenting. This fish was only about half a meter away from me," Jeng said.

"It was that fish that moved me to hold this press conference, because in our seafood loving culture, the first thing you want to do when you see a fish is to kill it and put it on a plate. Yet this is the first spotted grouper that has been in such close proximity to me in my 20 or so years in Kenting," Jeng added.

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