Wed, May 15, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Motorized personal watercraft banned off south Penghu

By Huang Hsu-lei and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Fish swim off Penghu County’s South Penghu Marine National Park in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of the Marine National Park Headquarters

The use of motorized personal watercraft near South Penghu Marine National Park has been banned, as such equipment could harm coral reefs, the Marine National Park Headquarters announced on Monday.

Businesses offer personal watercraft rentals for water skiing or joyriding, but those activities are not sanctioned by the government, the office said in a news release.

The commercial use of personal watercraft is not compatible with the park’s mission to preserve the environment and provide a safe, hospitable area for visitors, it said.

As a coral reef habitat, the national park is too sensitive to pollution for any kind of activity involving motorized personal watercraft, it said.

High-speed vehicles are also a menace to recreational divers and their wake could unbalance other boats, it added.

Those caught riding personal watercraft or water surfing would face a fine of NT$5,000 to NT$25,000, while businesses renting such vehicles would be fined triple that amount, headquarters deputy director Hsu Shao-liang (徐韶良) said.

When appropriate, the agency would issue personal watercraft permits for uses related to emergency rescue or education, he said.

According to a study commissioned by the park in 2017, the area’s coral reef-based ecosystem is recovering and the number of fish species has grown to 463, 93 more than in the previous survey.

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