Thu, Sep 07, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Hualien brokers regulations for canoeing near cliffs

By Wang Chun-chih and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Canoers paddle past Cingshuei Cliff in Hualien County on Saturday last week.

Photo: Wang Chun-chi, Taipei Times

The Hualien County Council last week brokered a set of rules for canoeing service providers and fishermen to share the water near Qingshui Cliff (清水斷崖) after months of disagreements between the groups.

Qinshui Cliff is a 5km-long escarpment along the county’s coastline in Taroko National Park. The area has become a focal point of recreational canoeing, with 26 operators catering to visitors.

Local fishermen say the visitors often paddle into fishery zones, where canoes can damage net installments and other equipment.

Territorial disputes have led to scuffles on the water and multiple lawsuits.

A fisherman surnamed Wang (王) blamed canoe service providers for the altercations, saying they have repeatedly ignored requests to observe boundaries and interfered with fishing operations.

Canoe company owners last month protested to the Hualien County Council, saying its handling of the situation was unfair to their interests.

One business owner surnamed Lin (林) said local operators do warn tourists not to enter fishing zones or get in the way of fishing boats, adding that there was a protest because excessive regulations had made it difficult to make a profit.

Following the protest, the council launched an intervention to mediate between the groups.

Council speaker Lai Ching-kun (賴進坤), Councilor Chuang Chih-tsai (莊枝財) and several others were involved in the effort, which also involved the Hualien Bureau of Tourism, the Hualien Bureau of Agriculture, as well as the Coast Guard Administration.

A provisional agreement was outlined by the groups and the results were announced on Tuesday last week.

The agreement said clear notification must be issued before a location can be used for canoeing and paddling routes must be demarcated, while the county is to provide funds to keep the area clean.

Recreational activities will be permitted only during scheduled hours and canoe service providers are to propose a code for self-regulation, organize monthly beach clean-ups and cooperate with the coast guard regarding issues of law enforcement, it said.

Hualien Bureau of Tourism Acting Director Pen Wei-tsu (彭偉族) said the county government would implement the agreement with more detailed rules after it is reconciled with the legal requirements of the area’s Aboriginal reserves.

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