A man who allegedly harassed dolphins with his yacht off Yilan County has been fined NT$20,000 for breaching the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), the first such case in the nation, the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) said yesterday.
In August, a group of tourists on a whale-watching boat reported seeing the man speeding up his vessel toward a group of dolphins near Turtle Island (Gueishan Island, 龜山島).
The dolphins, who were swimming near the surface, dived deeper, as they were seemingly scared by the yacht, the tourists reported at the time, with one of them later handing video footage of the incident to the Yilan County Government.
After an investigation by the Yilan District Prosecutors’ Office, the man was fined NT$20,000 and prosecution of the incident was deferred, the OCA said in a news release.
He contravened Article 42 of the act, which forbids harassing or abusing protected wildlife, it said, adding that all whales and dolphins are protected under Taiwanese law.
It is the nation’s first such case that resulted in a penalty, the OCA said.
The video provided by one of the witnesses was of great help to the investigation, it said, adding that in many reported incidents, the evidence is insufficient and alleged perpetrators cannot be prosecuted.
The OCA last month held a meeting with conservationists, prosecutors, and coast guard and government officials to discuss how to identify and collect evidence in alleged cases of marine wildlife harassment.
Nearly 30 of the world’s more than 80 whale and dolphin species have been reported in the waters near Taiwan, with the best season for watching the animals from April to October, the OCA said.
According to OCA guidelines, ships engaged in wildlife-watching should travel at a slow and steady speed.
Vessels should maintain a distance of at least 50m from the mammals and a distance of at least 300m to nursery groups of whales or dolphins, the guidelines say.
When seeing dolphins riding bow waves of their ships — which allows the dolphins to swim at higher speeds — vessels should keep a steady pace and not change direction abruptly, to avoid scaring or harming the animals, the guidelines say.
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
HAWAII MODEL: While Hawaii held a referendum on becoming the 50th US state, Taiwan has never applied to join the People’s Republic of China, Miles Yu said China comparing Taiwanese independence to Hawaii seeking independence from the US is illogical, as Taiwan has never applied to be a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hudson Institute senior fellow Miles Yu (余茂春) said over the weekend. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has given multiple talks asserting Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. In a speech to the Asia Society on Thursday, Wang likened Taiwan to Hawaii. “Just as the US would not allow Hawaii to break away,” Beijing “reserves the right” to seek unification, Wang told the gathering. The
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
Tensions over Taiwan have raised the thorny issue of whether US troops based in South Korea would be involved in any conflict, with US and South Korean officials acknowledging that the peninsula could easily be dragged into a crisis. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol told CNN in an interview aired on Sunday that his country was keen to work with the US to “expand freedom,” but that in a conflict over Taiwan, North Korea would be more likely to stage a provocation and that the alliance should focus on that first. North Korea has a mutual defense treaty with China, and military