A group of academics yesterday announced the establishment of the Taiwan Ocean Protection and Monitoring Association, an organization dedicated to protecting the nation’s oceanic resources and improving water pollution control.
“Taiwan would no longer be the beautiful island of Formosa if its sea and mountains are plagued by problems,” Hsu Wen-lung (許文龍), the founder of Chi Mei Group, the association’s main backer, told a news conference, referring to the overdevelopment of mountain areas, water pollution and declining fish stocks in coastal waters.
The 85-year-old Hsu, an avid fisherman, said he was alerted to the dire situation when he came home empty-handed from a sea fishing trip for the first time ever last year.
The association, founded by 50 professors and researchers across the country, is demanding that the government tackle the issues immediately, and establish an interagency panel to coordinate and promote related legislation.
Association founder Liao I-chiu (廖一久), a member of Academia Sinica and aquaculture professor at National Taiwan University, said the organization plans to collaborate with the government to achieve its goals.
Liao said the group plans to set up inspection points in the mouth of every river and harbor in the nation to monitor the status of marine life, as well as the amount of toxicants and heavy metals in the water.
The nation’s recent diplomatic dispute with the Philippines highlighted the gravity of Taiwan’s decreasing fish stocks and deteriorating ocean environment, as well as the need for the government to address overfishing and pollution from sewage, Liao said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), who recently returned from Japan, where he inspected environmental protection works at Tokyo Bay, agreed with Liao.
As an island, Taiwan needs to focus a lot more attention to its maritime territory, Lin said.
Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said he welcomed the establishment of the association as the government needs assistance from the private sector to tackle alarming issues such as coastal erosion, water pollution and the scarcity of fish.