As Taiwan is connected with the world through the oceans, it aims to establish a first-rate marine industry, while balancing environmental sustainability, and encourage more international visitors to appreciate all the nation has to offer, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday at the fourth National Oceans Day event in Kaohsiung.
In celebration of National Oceans Day, which is on June 8 each year, the Ocean Affairs Council (OAC) held an event at the Kaohsiung Maritime Cultural and Pop Music Center from Thursday through yesterday.
Tsai said that since the OAC was established five years ago, marine affairs management has been shifted from local governments to the central government, showing Taiwan’s high respect for the ocean and representing the spirit of “being based in Taiwan, and sailing toward the world.”
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
The event’s theme this year echoed the UN’s World Oceans Day theme “Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing” — a reminder that everyone is responsible for protecting the ocean, she said.
The government has promoted a series of “pay tribute to the ocean” policies over the past few years, which included amending the Marine Pollution Control Act (海洋污染防治法) and increasing maximum penalties for ocean polluters from NT$1.5 million to NT$100 million (US$48,820 to US$3.25 million), last month, Tsai said, adding that an ocean pollution prevention fund is to be established.
The Marine Industry Development Regulations (海洋產業發展條例) were also passed last month, stipulating that the government should allocate funds for developing the marine industry, encouraging locals to attend marine-related activities, and providing guidance, assistance, rewards and subsidies for marine businesses, she said.
These efforts show how the government is dealing with ocean pollution, and establishing a quality marine industry, while balancing environmental sustainability, Tsai said.
“Oceans connect Taiwan with the world, and while the world is returning to normal in the post-pandemic era, beautiful Taiwan is opening its arms and embracing the world through the oceans, so it welcomes international friends to come and visit,” she said, adding that people who love surfing, diving, fishing or whale watching should not miss the opportunity to visit Taiwan.
The government has set a goal of attracting more than 6 million international visitors this year, she added.
Tsai said that for Taiwan to be sustainable, its oceans must be sustainable, so she encourages everyone to work together to protect them.
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