Taiwan is an island nation teeming with rich marine resources. The Ocean Affairs Council, responsible for coordinating ocean-related policies, was founded in 2018 to ensure Taiwan's status as a prosperous, secure and ecologically sound maritime nation. In 2019, the Ocean Basic Act was promulgated, setting the course for ocean affairs policy and declaring June 8 to be National Oceans Day. In 2020, the government published the National Ocean Policy White Paper to serve as its blueprint for ocean administration and launched the Salute to the Seas policy founded upon principles of openness, transparency, service, education and responsibility. This latter policy promotes the work of cleaning up, learning about, closely engaging with and even entering the ocean. Its goals are ocean accessibility, robust overall development of ocean affairs, and ensuring sustainable development of the ocean.
Salute to the Seas policy tasks
■ Learn about the sea: Conduct in-depth marine research, for example through the national oceanographic research vessels Legend, New Ocean Researcher 1, New Ocean Researcher 2 and New Ocean Researcher 3. This fleet was launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology from 2018 to 2019 and now constitutes an integral platform for important marine research. The Legend utilized a remotely operated underwater vehicle to confirm for the first time the presence of natural gas hydrates in Taiwan's southwest waters, assisting the evaluation of drilling and extraction risks and opening up avenues for development of new energy sources.
■ Clean up the sea: Establish mechanisms to organize regular, immediate or emergency cleanups of coastal trash along every inch of shoreline. Reduce sources of ocean trash, for example by implementing a real-name traceability system for gill nets used by fishing boats, switching from styrofoam buoys to eco-friendly ones, setting up temporary waste storage to receive discarded fishing gear or aquaculture rubbish, clearing away fallen trees from upstream areas, and intercepting river garbage before they flow out to sea. Promote initiatives such as the recycling of fishing nets, styrofoam and plastic bottles, and the reuse of oyster racks and driftwood.
■ Engage with and enter the sea: Steer ocean management toward increased accessibility, for example by derestriction of coast control zones or opening up fishing-friendly spots along the coastline. Build a one-stop online platform that provides information and services for marine recreational activities. Launch the "Go Ocean" online platform that provides up-to-date information on local environmental conditions, encouraging the public to safely visit and learn about the ocean.