Accusing China of illegally extracting sand in the vicinity of the Formosa Banks and endangering the ecology, the Society for Wildlife and Nature yesterday called for government action to protect maritime resources that belong to Taiwan.
The society called for an cross-agency collaboration involving the ministries of justice, economic affairs and interior, and the Mainland Affairs Council to amend laws and give the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) a legal basis for protecting the shoal.
The shoal, which is near the median line of the Taiwan Strait, is a traditional fishing area for Penghu County fishers.
Photo courtesy of Society for Wildlife and Nature president Jeng Ming-shiou
Chinese ships have dredged more than 100,000 tonnes of sand daily from the shoal over the past few years, which has altered the sand and sediment and poses a catastrophe for local marine ecology, society president Jeng Ming-shiou (鄭明修) told a news conference in Taipei.
Jeng, a fellow member at Academia Sinica’s Biodiversity Research Center, called for regular air patrols by drones or helicopters over the Formosa Banks.
The group last month concluded an underwater recording of the shoal, capturing on screen 44 families of 643 fish, as well as more than 10 types of soft coral, he said, adding that the footage is the nation’s first documentation of marine ecology in the shoal area.
Photo courtesy of the Society for Wildlife and Nature via CNA
During the recording, the society found large swathes of the seabed covered in drag nets, which it said could be from Chinese trawlers.
Most Taiwanese do not know about the rich fishery resources in the area and scientific reports are lacking, the group said.
The society also urged the Council of Agriculture and the Ocean Affairs Council to allocate funding to support long-term projects to monitor underwater and fisheries conditions in the area, in a bid to ensure the sustainable development of the nation’s marine resources.
CGA Patrol Affairs Division Chief Wang Cheng-hsin (王正信) told the news conference that the agency had escorted two Chinese ships with its 28 crewmembers, including their captains back to Magong City (馬公) last year.
The two captains were each sentenced to six months in prison, while each crew member was given four months, he said, adding that all of their cargoes, including the illegally mined sand, were confiscated.
The CGA last year chased away 500 dredging ships, and 1,077 from January to last month, he said, adding that it had appealed to its Chinese counterpart, but had not received an answer.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”
WASHED ASHORE: Of the 16 bodies discovered along Taiwan’s west coast this month, two were Vietnamese and five were Taiwanese, coast guard officials said Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he has instructed prosecutors and maritime authorities to launch investigations after 16 bodies were found along Taiwan’s west coast this month, amid speculation that they were victims of smuggling or human trafficking rings. Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials said the bodies, most of which had washed ashore, were found by coast guard personnel and local residents along the coastline from Keelung to Kaohsiung. Thirteen of the bodies are male and three are female, the CGA said, adding that items found on the bodies indicate that two of the men were Vietnamese, while three men