The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act (野生動物保育法) to provide marine mammals better protection — making Taiwan the first country in Asia to prohibit the sale of marine mammals and related products.
According to the approved amendment, marine mammals and products made from marine mammals are prohibited from being imported to or exported from the country, unless permission is obtained from the Council of Agriculture.
Individuals who violate the regulation could be fined between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000.
The amendment would affect the sale of harp seal oil and other harp seal products, which have been widely advertised on TV and in shops as “health food.”
An exemption was made for Aboriginal people, who are allowed to hunt marine mammals in traditional Aboriginal territory to supply for their needs, after obtaining permission from the council.
Under the amendment, the council is entitled to draw up management bylaws to clamp down on sales of banned products on the Internet.
The Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan hailed the passage of the amendment, saying that the move would help save harp seals, whose numbers have dwindled amid global warming.
Also approved by the legislature was an amendment to the Act Governing the Examination of Special Professions and Techniques (專門職業及技術人員考試法).
The amendment stipulated that any form of cheating in exams — sitting an exam under a false name, or registering for an exam using fake identification — would result in a five-year ban from any tests hosted by the Examination Yuan.