The SMM received the following four e-mails regarding our 29 June 2020 Presidential Letter to President Tsai of Taiwan in regards to conservation of the Taiwanese White Dolphin:
Dear Mr. Gonzalvo and Ms. Pabst:
I am writing on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen to thank you for your email dated June 29 expressing your concerns about efforts to preserve the Taiwanese white dolphin.
The Taiwan government has devoted extensive effort to protecting white dolphins and the marine environment, and as your email noted, we have had some measure of success. We also established an Ocean Affairs Council in 2018 to promote international cooperation and the sustainable development of marine resources. And in 2019, our Ocean Conservation Administration launched a plan to monitor the white dolphin population along Taiwan’s west coast, which helped to identify, track and protect individual dolphins.
Under this administration, sustainability is a core strategic principle that informs all major decisions, and all ministries and agencies will continue working together to balance environmental concerns, green energy development, and sound overall economic policy. We appreciate your efforts to highlight this issue while providing innovative solutions to help preserve threatened subspecies like the Taiwanese white dolphin.
On behalf of President Tsai, we thank you once again for your valuable input, and for contributing to the protection of Taiwan’s tremendous biodiversity.
Department of Special Affairs
Dear Dr. Pabst,
The Fisheries Agency of Taiwan has been informed by Dr. Chen Chi-chung, Minister of Council of Agriculture about your letter to our President Tsai Ing-wen dated June 29, 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for your enthusiasm and dedication to the conservation of the marine ecosystem in Taiwan’s water.
To conserve and rationally utilize aquatic resources, to increase fisheries productivity and to promote sound fisheries development are priority issues of this Agency; in other words, this Agency places great emphasis on conservation of fishery resources and the sustainable development of fisheries, and to this end, we have various measures have been taken to properly control our fishing. For instance, for gillnet fisheries, that you have concerned about, since 2017, 2,722 gillnet vessels have been reduced for the actions taken by this Agency.
As for Taiwanese White Dolphin, it has been listed as one of the protected marine wildlife species by the Taiwan authority. Therefore, according to our requlation, it is now officially under the jurisdiction and management of the Ocean Conservation Administration, Ocean Affairs Council. Nevertheless, as the fisheries authority, this Agency has been promoting relevant conservation measures to our fishermen and they generally recognize the importance of conservation of the species as well.
For this conservation of this species, it is hoped that in the future, this Agency can continue to exchange views and cooperate with you and your organization, so as to ensure our mutual interests and common goals.
Dear Ms. Pabst and Mr. Gonzalvo,
Thank you for your email dated June 29 expressing your concerns about efforts to preserve the Taiwanese white dolphin.
To conserve the white dolphin population of coastal western Taiwan, the Ocean Conservation Administration, Ocean Affairs Council has invited experts, research scholars, and government agencies to draft a conservation plan.
The conservation plan mainly encompasses four sections and 54 priority actions to solve and relieve threats, including monitoring and research, habitat protection, control of anthropogenic impacts, and propagation of conservation education and local participation.
We work with related agencies such as Fisheries Agency, Environmental Protection Administration and Bureau of Energy on this topic and continue discussing, communicating, and cooperating with NGOs and relevant stakeholders to adopt and implement the conservation actions in the plan. To minimize the possible impact of wind farm building to the cetaceans, earlier this year, we launched the Taiwan Cetacean Observer system, which has been implemented for several months. We have also pre-announced the major wildlife habitat of Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins, covering an area of 763 square kilometers, which traverses the four counties of Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, and Yunlin.
Again, thank you for your attention. We will keep making efforts and do our best to preserve the white dolphins and their habitats in the hope of meeting the necessary demands of the livelihood of the people, economic development, and the conservation of white dolphins.
Ocean Affairs Council
Dear Chair Gonzalvo and President Pabst,
Thank you for your email and your suggestions on the conservation of white dolphins in Taiwan. Regarding the issues that you mentioned about LNG terminals and offshore wind development, please refer to the following information.
According to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, environmental impact assessments shall be conducted for the installation of LNG off-loading facilities. Both Taipower (TPC) and CPC Corporation, Taiwan (CPC) have already taken the impacts on Taiwanese humpback dolphins and the environment into account for constructing LNG terminals at Taichung Harbor. TPC and CPC will start building LNG terminals after receiving the approval from the environmental impact assessment committee.
As for offshore wind development, our goal is based on marine ecological conservation, both of which are by no means mutually exclusive, and can be win-win.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has conduct the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for Zonal Development of offshore wind to serve as the guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Before planning for development of offshore wind farms, developers should investigate whether the site involves zones of environmental sensitivity or specific purpose, and conduct EIA as dictated by law.
In order to reduce the impact to the marine mammals, specific measures have been implemented or committed by the developers. During planning stage, existing environmentally sensitive area has been avoided, especially the Major Wildlife Habitat of the white dolphins. In construction stage, underwater acoustic monitoring and dolphin visual investigation will also be carried out, and the best commercial noise control methods such as bubble curtain must be adopted. After development, the underwater foundation will serve as artificial reefs to enhance restoration of marine ecosystems, and provide food resource for dolphins as well.
MOEA will pay equal attention to the promotion of offshore wind and environmental protection. Developers will be strictly required and supervised to implement their EIA commitments to promote marine ecology conservation, so as to realize the vision of environmental sustainability.
Thank you for reaching out to us on the topic of white dolphin conservation and offshore wind development in Taiwan. If you have any further questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact our representative, Ms. Fan (Tel.: +886-2-27757580).
Bureau of Energy,
Ministry of Economic Affairs