A Pingtung County policy that allows fishers to exchange maritime debris for local agricultural products has, over the past two months, recovered 3.7 tonnes, exceeding the amount of waste recycled by the Ocean Conservation Administration’s environmental protection fleet program.
The program worked with the Bureau of Agriculture and the Coast Guard Administration’s fifth and sixth coast guard teams, Pingtung Environmental Protection Bureau Director-General Yan Hsing-yuan (顏幸苑) said.
The teams established recycling stations at all 23 ports in the county and encouraged fishers to collect any marine waste they found — such as discarded fishing nets, plastic materials or beverage cans — to exchange for local produce.
Photo: Chen Yen-ting, Taipei Times
The local government translated information about the program into Bahasa Indonesia, English, Thai, Malay, Tagalog and Vietnamese to encourage participation from foreign workers on fishing vessels, Yan said, adding that the effort bolstered the program’s success.
Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) on Tuesday visited the coast guard teams to present them with cash rewards and other awards for helping with the program.
The first of its kind in Taiwan, the program promotes conservation of maritime ecology, as well as helping to meet sustainability goals, Pan said.
“We hope that by removing maritime debris, we will prevent sea turtles from being trapped in abandoned fishing nets,” he added.
The environmental fleet program includes about 3,700 fishing vessels, all of which are overseen by the ocean administration and the Fisheries Agency in their efforts to gather maritime waste that is spotted while at sea.
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