Sun, Jan 13, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Activists urge Taoyuan County to protect algal reefs

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Algal reefs along Taoyuan County’s coast are dying, and the county government should establish a nature reserve as soon as possible to help protect the reefs, environmentalists said.

The environmentalists made the call on Friday at a press conference held by five Taoyuan County councilors from the Democratic Progressive Party.

The environmentalists stressed that the algal reefs are in a critical situation, saying that the marine ecology in a large area surrounding the algal reefs has already died as a result of more than two decades of industrial pollution nearby.

If the local government does not do something quickly, the last remaining 4km of reef may also be destroyed, they said.

The group also questioned why the local government has not done anything given that the Council of Agriculture suggested listing the area as a nature reserve four years ago.

In response, Hu Shu-fen (胡淑芬), head of the Forest and Nature Conservation Section under the Taoyuan County Government’s Agriculture Development Bureau said that a research team from the local government has studied the environmental impact on the reefs and suggested that a wildlife conservation area be established rather than a nature reserve.

“If a nature reserve is established under the Culture Resources Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), then people would be banned entering the area, and the natural condition would not be changed,” she said, adding that a more flexible way to help the area’s environment would be to create a conservation area under the Wildlife Protection Act (野生動物保育法).

The bureau said that it has commissioned further ecological research, scheduled to be completed in October, to find practicable solutions to restore the algal reefs.

Local environmental protection bureau and the Environmental Protection Administration will also continue to investigate industrial polluters, the bureau added.

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