Worried that the Fisheries Agency may relax restrictions on commercial imports of whale sharks, a species considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Life Conservationist Association (LCA) yesterday protested the agency’s release of a draft set of regulations on importing the animals.
“The Fisheries Agency’s move is quite suspicious, since no research institutions — including the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium — have expressed the need to import whale sharks for academic purposes. We do not understand why the agency needs to devise such regulations now,” Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳), executive director of the association’s Supervisory Committee for Animal Protection, said in a telephone interview. “We suspect that the move is to facilitate commercial imports of whale sharks under the guise of academic or scientific research.”
Ho said as soon as the agency posted the draft regulations on its Web site earlier this month, several animal rights activists, including himself, asked to meet Ministry of Education and museum officials.
“During a meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Education Huang Pi-tuan (黃碧端) and museum Director-General Wang Wei-hsien (王維賢) both said they have not heard that any academic or scientific institutions have any plans to import whale sharks,” Ho said. “Huang went as far as saying that the ministry has no plan to change former minister of education Wu Ching-ji’s (吳清基) decision to ban imports of whale sharks.”
If no researchers plan to import the species, “we would like to ask the Fisheries Agency why it had to go through all the trouble of drafting a set of regulations on importing whale sharks,” Ho said.
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‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan