Taiwanese Government Responds to Presidential Letters Regarding the Taiwanese White Dolphin

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.

Bruce Chen
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.

Sincerely yours,
Chih-Sheng Chang
Fisheries Agency  



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.
Chung-wei Lee
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

Joint ECS/SMM Presidential Letter sent to the President Tsai of Taiwan in regards to conservation of the Taiwanese white dolphin

On 29 June 2020, a joint ECS/SMM Presidential Letter was sent to the President Tsai of Taiwan in regards to conservation efforts for the Taiwanese white dolphin.

See a copy of the letter sent here.

President Tsai Ing-wen
Office of the President
No. 122, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd., Zhongzheng District
Taipei City 10048, Taiwan (ROC)

29 June 2020

Dear President Tsai:

We are writing to you regarding the plight of the Taiwanese white dolphin (Sousa chinensis taiwanensis) and the unique opportunity you have to save this subspecies, which is found only in your waters. The Society for Marine Mammalogy wrote to the Office of the President in 2011, when this population was threatened by a proposed petrochemical plant. This plant was not built, which was an admirable, environmentally sound decision by Taiwan. We note that there is now a proposal to build two Liquified Natural Gas terminals in white dolphin habitat; we hope that once again your government will decide in favor of the animals and the environment. Clearly, serious threats facing these imperiled dolphins remain unaddressed and as a result the population size has continued to decrease, now reaching perilously low numbers.

Since 2008, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has considered this endemic subspecies of Taiwan, which numbers fewer than 75 dolphins, to be Critically Endangered. Mortality in fishing nets was identified as the greatest threat to this subspecies in the 2019

Taiwanese White Dolphin Recovery Plan (please see the links to this plan provided below). The Recovery Plan, which was the product of an international workshop of scientists, conservation and fisheries groups, and a representative of the Ocean Conservation Administration, states that a ban on gill and trammel net fishing is “the single most urgent action needed” and if such a ban were effectively enforced, “it would immediately halt the decline in Taiwanese white dolphin population size.”

A third issue of concern is the development of offshore windfarms. While it is commendable that Taiwan is seeking greener energy, we are concerned that the development of offshore windfarms and Liquified Natural Gas terminals, as currently planned, would reduce the available coastal habitat of Taiwanese white dolphins and, at the same time, displace more fishing effort into the remaining habitat of this critically endangered subspecies. The 2019

Taiwanese White Dolphin Recovery Plan outlines a novel approach to addressing these conflicts. Companies and financiers involved with the developments, while taking suggested actions to decrease their impacts on dolphin habitat, could contribute to government programs to eliminate gill and trammel nets from that habitat by compensating fishers fairly so that they can transition to dolphin-safe fishing methods. Such an innovative solution would be a win for the developers and green energy because they will then be in compliance with the standards of the International Finance Corporation and Equator Principles, a win for fishers, and a win for Taiwanese white dolphins.

We write on behalf of the Society for Marine Mammalogy and the European Cetacean Society, the largest professional associations dedicated to understanding the biology and conservation of marine mammals globally. We agree that the ban on gill and trammel nets is the single most urgent action needed to stop the decline in Taiwanese white dolphins. We are encouraged by the possibility that Taiwan will solicit industry support for programs to reduce the impacts of fisheries on marine mammals. We urge the government of Taiwan to help conserve this dolphin subspecies and maintain globally valued biodiversity for future generations by, in this instance, directing green energy development projects to implement innovative solutions that address the needs of all parties.


Joan Gonzalvo, Chair                                                             D. Ann Pabst, President
European Cetacean Society                                                  Society for Marine Mammalogy


2019 Taiwanese White Dolphin Recovery Plan: and https://iucn-



Premier Su Tseng-chang
Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan)

Minister Mei-Hua Wang Ministry of Economic Affairs

Minister Lee, Chung-wei Ocean Affairs Council,1,12&mcustomize=chairman_em ail_rule.jsp

Minister Chen Chi-chung Council of Agriculture

Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)

President Chang Po-ya Control Yuan

President You, Si-kun
Legislative Yuan
Fax +886-2-2395-5317

Peter Ross
Chair, Taiwanese White Dolphin Advisory Board (formerly ETSSTAWG)

Chen Hsien-cheng
Board Chair, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association,Taiwan

John Wang
CetAsia Research Group and Trent University

Randall Reeves
Chair, IUCN SSC Cetacean Specialist Group

Robin Winkler
Board Chair, Matsu’s Fish Conservation Union

Kurtis Pei
National Pingtung University of Science and Technology – Institute of Wildlife Conservation