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Marine Conservation Act


Taiwan is surrounded by seas blessed with abundant natural resources. To foster a high-quality environment for the development of ocean-related industries, and balance ecological conservation and environmental sustainability, the government in 2023 approved additional amendments to the Marine Pollution Control Act and passed a draft bill for the Marine Industry Development Act, and the Executive Yuan in February 2024 approved a draft bill for the Marine Conservation Act. This latter act will enable Taiwan to make strides in improving the protection of marine ecosystems, the effective administration of marine protected areas (MPAs), and the conservation and restoration of marine biodiversity. In tandem with the Climate Change Response Act and other related laws, the Marine Conservation Act will help create a healthy marine ecosystem that balances sustainable resource use alongside the "blue economy" of ocean-related industries.

Main points of the act

Five powers: The act grants powers to managing government authorities to (1) designate sanctuary areas wherever special protections are necessary for the marine ecosystem; (2) determine overall policy guidelines for MPA management to ensure proper administration of protected areas; (3) declare restrictions and prohibitions on marine recreation, ship navigation, use of fishing equipment, and other maritime activities; (4) study and implement measures related to the conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems; and (5) dispatch observers to survey, monitor and collect maritime data.

Three guarantees: The act guarantees rights for users of marine resources by (1) establishing an advisory committee mechanism to review the designation of sanctuary areas, as well as restrictions and prohibitions on maritime activities; (2) permitting policy-compatible use of marine resources at appropriate times within buffer areas and sustainable use areas; and (3) upholding until its expiration date any maritime agreement, permit or other authorization that was lawfully obtained prior to the designation of a marine sanctuary area, based on the doctrine of legitimate expectation.

Two pathways: The act provides pathways for citizen watchdogs to ensure the law is upheld by (1) rewarding law enforcement personnel, private citizens, legal entities, or organizations that actively join or assist the managing government authorities in stopping or reporting illegal incidents; and (2) enabling harmed parties or public interest groups to bring lawsuits directly to the high administrative courts if the managing government authorities are negligent in enforcing the Marine Conservation Act.

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