The whale shark has been added to the nation’s list of protected species, the Ocean Affairs Council said on Tuesday, adding that offenders face fines and imprisonment.
The whale shark, along with the giant oceanic manta ray and the reef manta ray, were on Tuesday last week added to the list, making the disturbance, abuse, slaughter or capture of any of the three species punishable by up to five years in prison, and a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million (US$10,033 to US$50,164), the council said.
Whale sharks have been sighted in waters near Hualien for a few years now, and in March this year a roughly 6m whale shark swam into the Port of Hualien looking for food, it said.
Photo courtesy of Turumoan Whale Watching and Water Entertainment Co
The capture of the three species has long been prohibited by stipulations in the Fisheries Act (漁業法), which require fishers to return the animals to the sea if accidentally caught, alive or dead, Hualien County Bureau of Agriculture Director Lo Wen-lung (羅文龍) said, but changes were made to enhance protection of the species by increasing the severity of punishments for offenders.
People who have whale sharks or manta rays in their care, or possess products made from any of the three species before Tuesday last week, must register them with the county government between June 1 and Aug. 31, according to Article 31 of the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) or face a fine of between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000, Lo said.
The three species are popular pets among fish enthusiasts due to their gentle temperament, Lo said. Whale sharks in particular are an oddity among sharks as they swim slowly, and feed on small fish and plankton, he said.
China appears to have built mockups of a port in northeastern Taiwan and a military vessel docked there, with the aim of using them as targets to test its ballistic missiles, a retired naval officer said yesterday. Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩), a former lieutenant commander in Taiwan’s navy, wrote on Facebook that satellite images appeared to show simulated targets in a desert in China’s Xinjiang region that resemble the Suao naval base in Yilan County and a Kidd-class destroyer that usually docks there. Lu said he compared the mockup port to US naval bases in Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan, and in Subic Bay
Police are investigating the death of a Formosan black bear discovered on Tuesday buried near an industrial road in Nantou County, with initial evidence indicating that it was shot accidentally by a hunter. The bear had been caught in wildlife traps at least five times before, three times since 2020. Codenamed No. 711, the bear received extensive media coverage last year after it was discovered trapped twice in less than two months in the Taichung mountains. After its most recent ensnarement last month, the bear was released in the Dandashan (丹大山) area in Nantou County’s Sinyi Township (信義). However, officials became concerned after the
The majority of parents surveyed in northern Taiwan favor the suspension of all on-site classes at schools from the junior-high level and below amid a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections, parent groups said yesterday. About 84.4 percent of respondents in a survey of 2,912 parents in northern Taiwan, where the outbreak is the most serious, said they supported suspending classes, the Action Alliance on Basic Education, the Taiwan Parents Protect Women and Children Association, and the Taiwan Love Children Association said. The groups distributed questionnaires to parents in New Taipei City, Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan and Hsinchu city and county from Saturday morning
DETERRENCE: US National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said cross-strait affairs are on the agenda at the US-ASEAN Special Leaders’ Summit The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday thanked the Czech Senate for passing a resolution supporting Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO and other international organizations for the second consecutive year. The resolution was passed on Wednesday with 51 votes in favor, one opposed and 11 abstentions. In addition to the WHO, it also called for Taiwan’s participation in the “meetings, mechanisms and activities” of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the International Civil Aviation Organization and Interpol. In its opening, the resolution states that the Czech Republic “considers Taiwan as one of its key partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” while noting its