Technology in Maritime: Eight Emerging Trends That You Need to Know for 2020

From autonomous shipping to big data and analytics, here are eight maritime technologies you need to know for 2020 and beyond

Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Committee suspended over COVID-19 concerns

CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) The Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Committee, which serves as the two countries’ main platform for resolving issues related to fishing rights, will not meet this year due to the health risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.

In a press release, MOFA said the two sides had agreed to suspend Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Committee activities this year and instead to continue to use guidelines agreed upon during the committee’s previous meeting, which was held April 10, 2019 in Tokyo.

Since the two sides alternate as hosts of the committee, this year’s meeting — for which an exact date had not been set — would have taken place in Taipei.

The committee has met eight times since its creation under the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement of April 10, 2013, and serves as a forum for resolving disputes over fishing operations and marine resources.

In the agreement, the two sides set aside their dispute over sovereignty of the waters within 12 nautical miles of the Diaoyutai Islands (which are excluded from the scope of the agreement), and focused instead on fishing rights in a 74,000-square-kilometer maritime zone bounded to the north by latitude 27 degrees north and extending south as far as Japan’s Yaeyama and Miyako islands.

(By Chen Yun-yu and Matthew Mazzetta)


Syaman Rapongan – Taiwan’s Ocean Literature Writer

Syaman Rapongan

Syaman Rapongan

About the writer

Syaman Rapongan, born in 1957, whose Chinese name is Nu-Lai Shih, is from the indigenous Tao tribe of Orchid Island of Taiwan. He graduated from the French department of Tamkang University, and then received his Master’s degree from Institute of Anthropology of National Tsing Hua University. He is both a literature writer and anthropologist who devotes his life to writing….

Your can find the introduction of his works here.






One-fifth of Earth’s ocean floor is now mapped

Global ocean floorImage copyright: NIPPON FOUNDATION-GEBCO SEABED 2030 PROJECT
Image caption: The black is where we still need modern measurements at a reasonable resolution

We’ve just become a little less ignorant about Planet Earth.

The initiative that seeks to galvanise the creation of a full map of the ocean floor says one-fifth of this task has now been completed.

When the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project was launched in 2017, only 6% of the global ocean bottom had been surveyed to what might be called modern standards.

That number now stands at 19%, up from 15% in just the last year.

Some 14.5 million sq km of new bathymetric (depth) data was included in the GEBCO grid in 2019 – an area equivalent to almost twice that of Australia.

It does, however, still leave a great swathe of the planet in need of mapping to an acceptable degree.

“Today we stand at the 19% level. That means we’ve got another 81% of the oceans still to survey, still to map. That’s an area about twice the size of Mars that we have to capture in the next decade,” project director Jamie McMichael-Phillips told BBC News.

Sonar gondola
Image copyright: FUGRO
Image caption: A state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder is slung below a survey ship

The map at the top of this page illustrates the challenge faced by GEBCO in the coming years.

Black represents those areas where we have yet to get direct echosounding measurements of the shape of the ocean floor. Blues correspond to water depth (deeper is purple, shallower is lighter blue).

It’s not true to say we have no idea of what’s in the black zones; satellites have actually taught us a great deal. Certain spacecraft carry altimeter instruments that can infer seafloor topography from the way its gravity sculpts the water surface above – but this only gives a best resolution at over a kilometre, and Seabed 2030 has a desire for a resolution of at least 100m everywhere.

Ocean floor map from gravityImage copyright: D.SANDWELL ET AL/SCRIPPS
Image caption: Satellites: The shape of the sea surface traces at coarse resolution the shape of the seafloor
Presentational white space

Better seafloor maps are needed for a host of reasons.

They are essential for navigation, of course, and for laying underwater cables and pipelines.

They are also important for fisheries management and conservation, because it is around the underwater mountains that wildlife tends to congregate. Each seamount is a biodiversity hotspot.

In addition, the rugged seafloor influences the behaviour of ocean currents and the vertical mixing of water.

This is information required to improve the models that forecast future climate change – because it is the oceans that play a critical role in moving heat around the planet. And if you want to understand precisely how sea-levels will rise in different parts of the world, good ocean-floor maps are a must.

Much of the data that’s been imported into the GEBCO grid recently has been in existence for some time but was “sitting on a shelf” out of the public domain. The companies, institutions and governments that were holding this information have now handed it over – and there is probably a lot more of this hidden resource still to be released.

Mariana Trench
Image caption: The Mariana Trench in the Pacific is the deepest ocean location on Earth – but very well mapped
Presentational white space

But new acquisitions will also be required. Some of these will come from a great crowdsourcing effort – from ships, big and small, routinely operating their echo-sounding equipment as they transit the globe. Even small vessels – fishing boats and yachts – can play their part by attaching data-loggers to their sonar and navigation equipment.

One very effective strategy is evidenced by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), which operates in the more remote parts of the globe – and that is simply to mix up the routes taken by ships.

“Very early on we adopted the ethos that data should be collected on passage – on the way to where we were going, not just at the site of interest,” explained BAS scientist Dr Rob Larter.

“A beautiful example of this is the recent bathymetric map of the Drake Passage area (between South America and Antarctica). A lot of that was acquired by different research projects as they fanned out and moved back and forth to the places they were going.”

Robot boatsImage copyright: OCEAN INFINITY
Image caption Artwork: Robot vessels can help close the gaps

New technology will be absolutely central to the GEBCO quest.

Ocean Infinity, a prominent UK-US company that conducts seafloor surveys, is currently building a fleet of robotic surface vessels through a subsidiary it calls Armada. This start-up’s MD, Dan Hook, says low-cost, uncrewed vehicles may be the only way to close some of the gaps in the more out-of-the-way locations in the 2030 grid.

He told BBC News: “When you look at the the mapping of the seabed in areas closer to shore, you see the business case very quickly. Whether it’s for wind farms or cable-laying – there are lots of people that want to know what’s down there. But when it’s those very remote areas of the planet, the case then is really only a scientific one.”

Jamie McMichael-Phillips is confident his project’s target can be met if everyone pulls together.

“I am confident, but to do it we will need partnerships. We need governments, we need industry, we need academics, we need philanthropists, and we need citizen scientists. We need all these individuals to come together if we’re to deliver an ocean map that is absolutely fundamental and essential to humankind.”

GEBCO stands for General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans. It is the only intergovernmental organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor. The latest status of its Seabed 2030 project was announced to coincide with World Hydrography Day.

Drake Passage
Image caption: Drake Passage is the stretch of water between South America and Antarctica


The 2020 Administrative Plan by the Ocean Affairs Council (approved version)

OAC logo

The Ocean Affairs Council is a specialized marine agency in Taiwan. It is responsible for developing the overall national marine policy based on the combination of resources from the national governments at all levels and the private sector, and the spirit and vision of sustainability and the common good through the implementation of high-efficiency policy strategies. With a solid force in maintaining maritime security, the outlaws will be prevented from entry into our national border. In addition to being the first line of defense for national security, the Ocean Affairs Council is also committed to creating a healthy and safe marine environment so that our people can rest assured of engaging in various marine activities. Meanwhile, the Ocean Affairs Council also cooperates with the authorities for various purposes to actively promote the sound development of the emerging marine industry, shape the unique marine culture, and at the same time take into account the ecological protection of the marine environment in order to become the momentum for the upward development of society and the country to move forward. In the end, the goal of the Ocean Affairs Council is to “reserving the country’s maritime rights and interests and ensuring the sustainable development of the marine industry.”

In response to changes in the economic and social situation and the future development needs of the Ocean Affairs Council, the Ocean Affairs Council formulates the 2020 Administrative Plan according to the 2020 policy plan of the Executive Yuan as well as the mid-term administrative plan and approved budget quotas.

I. Annual Administrative Goals and Strategies

  • Overall Policy

    1. Comprehensively promote the development of the marine industry: The Ocean Affairs Council shall implement the national ocean policy goals, formulate policies to promote the “The Fundamental Law of the Sea,” compile the “National Ocean Policy White Paper”, and urge governments at all levels to review their policies and administrative measures in accordance with the White Paper to enhance the effectiveness of management in marine affairs.
    2. Respect the traditional rights of indigenous peoples: The Ocean Affairs Council internalizes the principles of openness, transparency, collaboration between the government and the people, and the development of outlying islands as necessary criteria for decision-making and policy development of the organization. Meanwhile, through organizing seminars, briefings, inviting experts to give lectures, internal meetings and online platforms, the Ocean Affairs Council will deeply cultivate the marine consciousness and concepts of Taiwanese, and integrate marine consciousness into daily life to promote progress in marine affairs.
  • Cross-Border Platform

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will formulate official budgets according to actual needs, research and propose social development and capital construction plans, and seek funding for public construction design plans, social development plans, and scientific and technological research and development plans, while making good use of resources. The Ocean Affairs Council will become a communication platform for various ministries and departments and civil society organizations involved in ocean affairs, and will invite the Board of Science and Technology under the Executive Yuan to provide advice and coordinate non-governmental technical support, implement the government’s digital service transformation goals and conduct virtual reality integration that is free of geographical restrictions, so that the traditional dialogue mode can be subverted and communication can become smoother with the help of technology.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will strengthen policy advocacy, communication and coordination so that the central and local governments can seamlessly integrate with each other, and so that all citizens understand the importance of the ocean to the country’s long-term development, and then attach importance to the ocean. In response to the Executive Yuan’s policy, the Ocean Affairs Council will collect the latest developments in ocean affairs worldwide and use digital media to familiarize Taiwanese with relevant information.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will promote youth participation in public affairs, handle marine youth training camps, select youths with marine expertise, encourage young people to actively participate in marine-related affairs, assist in the formulation of marine policies, and help promote youth projects. Meanwhile, the Ocean Affairs Council also sought younger generations of opinions and insights to make the policy more comprehensive through this participation platform, where everyone can provide ideas (proposals), speak freely (advice on draft policies and regulations), conduct oversight (major policy plans) and directly contact local government heads (e-mail).
  • Organizational Culture

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council is committed to introducing an enterprise management system, creating an organizational culture full of team innovation, responsible execution, and sincere service, and establishing a good and positive working atmosphere, which lays a favorable foundation for the governance of the Ocean Affairs Council and improve the overall administrative effectiveness of the team.
    2. Adhering to the spirit of Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB), the Ocean Affairs Council integrates key government policies and prioritizes budgets in accordance with the government’s financial planning to achieve the goal of improving budget efficiency and properly allocating budget resources.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council has extensively publicized laws/cases against unlawful profits to promote awareness of integrity among colleagues and implemented project audits or double-checks on businesses that are prone to deficiencies. The Ocean Affairs Council adheres to the principle of “prevention, investigation, and prevention” to correct errors in a timely and effective manner, and implement risk management and control.
  • Ocean Economy

    1. In order to develop diversified operations, the Ocean Affairs Council cooperates with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Council of Agriculture under the Executive Yuan, and local governments to widely publicize the development of Taiwan’s marine economy and encourage private enterprises to participate in investment through international conferences or global investment invitations. These measures are linked to the key marine construction for the “five plus two innovative industry” that aims to make Taiwan a network hub for the marine economy in the Asia-Pacific region.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council integrates and coordinates public and private sector related resources, actively participates in mainstream marine issues and potential marine cooperation plans promoted under the current APEC framework, pays attention to the possibilities of marine economic cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific region, and signs the memorandum of cooperation with international ocean economic institutions. In general, the Ocean Affairs Council will develop, lead or actively participate in regional or bilateral cooperation strategies on “ocean economy” issues.
    3. Construct deep sea ocean corridors and industrial chains, deep ocean water development, and local tourism development plans to connect marine deep water parks, deep aquaculture, marine recreation, marine culture and other related industries to form a multi-industrial corridor. The Ocean Affairs Council will construct deep sea ocean corridors and industrial chains, develop deep ocean areas, and combine local tourism development and planning to connect related industries such as deep ocean parks, deep ocean farming, marine recreation, and marine culture, and form a diversified industrial corridor. The Ocean Affairs Council will strengthen the industrial chain and cooperation platform of the deep seawater industry in the upstream, midstream and downstream, promote industry investment in the deep seawater industry, promote the high-value development of the deep seawater industry, and improve the operating performance of industry through the research and development of new product technology, promotion of marketing, and customized coaching for private businesses.
  • Industrial Transformation

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will work with the international community and the competent authorities such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs to reduce carbon emissions, vigorously develop the green energy industry, focus on marine energy research / green marine transportation, encourage shipowners to switch to alternative and renewable energy sources that would help them save energy consumption and expenses and achieve environmental sustainability goals that would, in turn, assist the development of the cruise and yacht industry, attract entry of manufacturers, and expand employment opportunities. The Ocean Affairs Council will develop regulations for the development of the marine industry to encourage the development of existing and new marine industries and create industry niche related to marine leisure sports.
    2. In response to the national energy policy, the Ocean Affairs Council will promote the development of emerging marine industries, promote ocean current power generation, uphold the spirit of sustainable development of marine resources, discuss strategies for sea space adjustment and climate change response, enhance central and local cooperation mechanisms, and strive to develop the kinetic energy generated by the planet’s rotation. The Ocean Affairs Council will focus on the development of marine energy, promote industrial transformation and diversified development of the industrial chain, seek marine resources and environmental development and sustainable balance, and gradually build a blue economy that aims for environmental protection and industry transformation for a symbiotic home.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will integrate and establish the energy for conducting marine engineering and ship model tests, comply with international verification standards, deepen shipbuilding and marine engineering technologies, and enhance the independent development capability and international competitiveness of Taiwan’s marine industry.
    4. The Ocean Affairs Council will review the hydrological monitoring work conducted by the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Council of Agriculture and other units in a timely manner and supplement it appropriately to establish a long-term marine weather wave and tidal observation system. The Ocean Affairs Council will establish basic data on the sea environment around Taiwan and conduct a comprehensive analysis of the width, sway and surface flow of the Black Stream to analyze the characteristics of the Black Stream and the potential and feasibility of its energy development, and further link the marine energy industry. Regarding the issue of offshore meteorology and ecological conservation in offshore wind power development, the Ocean Affairs Council will establish a database for the marine meteorological and ecological monitoring networks in the offshore wind turbine areas, hoping that the long-term data can be used for subsequent analysis and assessment to improve the development of the marine industry.
  • List TitlePlace-making through Local Creativity and Design

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will promote diverse pro-sea activities, make good use of abundant marine resources, and integrate the administrative forces of the Ministry of Economy, the Maritime Port Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Tourism Bureau and the Fisheries Agency under the Council of Agriculture to jointly promote the marine economy and marine tourism and recreation businesses. The Ocean Affairs Council will encourage cross-industry alliances, carry forward local marine cultural characteristics, promote eco-tourism, and implement the National Development Committee’s “Place-making through Local Creativity and Design” plan to assist traditional industries to adapt to times and conduct transformation.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will actively integrate resources of other ministries/departments related to ocean affairs, jointly develop key promotion plans to solve future ocean problems, and commission marine colleges and professional agencies / institutions to assess the status of fishery resources in their areas. Regarding areas with scarce resources, the Ocean Affairs Council will counsel local fishermen to transform their operation models, and conducts a six-level industrialization for aquaculture and fisheries based on the principle of “production, processing, and marketing.” The Ocean Affairs Council will also optimize the population structure of the fishing village, create a field where innovation and tradition are combined, and make good use of the OB experience to attract young people to return to their hometowns and revitalize local vitality.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will expand tourism and recreation, develop marine tourism and recreation activities in Taiwan, make full use of natural environment resources, facility resources, marine human resources, etc., establish a variety of marine leisure activities / facility resources, and cultivate human resources for marine tourism, so that Taiwan’s marine leisure tourism industry can flourish.
  • Early Warning Management

    1. In order to achieve the goal of “sustainable use and conservation of marine resources” (SDG14) of the United Nations “Sustainable Development 2030 Agenda”, the Ocean Affairs Council will refer to specific international action recommendations and provide early warning based on scientific data. According to international marine conservation trends and domestic research results of marine ecosystems and species, the Ocean Affairs Council will use the administrative power of marine-related ministries and compile marine environmental education textbooks in various written forms such as annual reports, special issues, special books, leaflets, multimedia, and online social media to address important marine issues such as climate change, ocean acidification, utilization of marine resources, and marine debris. The Ocean Affairs Council will handle new marine conservation activities, and promote civil participation in research and development through the citizen scientist model to promote education through various channels.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will improve the rule of marine conservation, develop a marine conservation law to do a good job of ecological conservation, review the marine ecosystem of Taiwan, implement habitat management, and establish an integrated network of marine protected areas and enforcement mechanisms. According to the Wildlife Conservation Law, the Ocean Affairs Council will monitor and investigate the important coastal and marine ecosystems and habitats, such as coral reefs, mangroves, algal reefs, seaweed beds, and conservation wildlife, including cetaceans, sea turtles, the bycatch of other species, etc. And continue to conduct ecological surveys of Chinese white dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and implement whale dolphin observer work to mitigate the impact of sea development on Chinese white dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and their habitats in response to government energy policies. The Ocean Affairs Council will communicate and coordinate with stakeholders through symposiums and briefings to design important marine protected areas and endangered species conservation management plans for vulnerable marine ecosystems and endangered species. In response to the implementation of the “National Land and Resources Plan”, the Ocean Affairs Council will improve the integrated governance mechanism of the maritime areas under our jurisdiction, and use the ecosystem and sustainable development as the basis for planning. Concepts such as “Satoumi” and “Integrated Coastal Management (ICM)” will be introduced to determine sustainable development strategies as an advanced guide for the use and planning of marine space.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will introduce standardized scientific monitoring methods, investigate hot spots and important habitats in our marine ecosystem, and maintain and expand marine wildlife use management platforms.
    4. The Ocean Affairs Council will improve emergency rescue mechanisms and containment facilities for marine wildlife, formulate conservation plans for endangered marine wildlife, cooperate in interregional rehabilitation of marine wildlife, and promote the whale-dolphin observer system.
    5. The Ocean Affairs Council will understand the characteristics of topographical changes through basic analysis and statistics of seahorse and geomorphological data, satellite image analysis, beach line changes and numerical models of drifting sand in the sea, in order to effectively propose countermeasures to prevent coastal invasion and siltation.
  • Enforcement Criteria

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will take “Clean Water”, “Health Habitat”, and “Sustainable Resource” as the goals of marine conservation policy promotion. Through the implementation of marine basic science surveys, the Ocean Affairs Council will build a marine database and an integrated platform for marine protected areas in Taiwan, delineate marine protected areas, focus on marine pollution and waste issues, focus on international conservation trends, strengthen cooperation between the public and private sectors and stakeholder participation, and practice marine conservation. The Ocean Affairs Council will cooperate with the competent authorities in “delineating the maritime functional area”, review the existing maritime-related laws and regulations, and formulate the “maritime management law” according to the delineation conditions to establish a multi-use sequence with a view to achieving the goal of sustainable marine resources.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will integrate the relevant authorities’ resource policies, implement source monitoring and management, block and remove foreign objects at river estuaries, promote the concept of a circular economy, strengthen the efficiency of recycling waste and reduce waste entering the sea, and avoid randomly dumping the waste into the ocean. The Ocean Affairs Council will investigate the content of microplastics in seawater and marine life, promote fishery waste reduction and recovery, and build a clean marine environment.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will vigorously publicize the relevant concept and educate the people, so that they can cultivate the correct concept of caring for the ocean, implement source monitoring and management, and combine local and private forces to evaluate the hot spots of marine debris with visual, aerial photography and underwater operations. The Ocean Affairs Council will continue to work with the environmental protection fleet and introduce the new marine trash can device to effectively remove submarine (floating) waste.
    4. The Ocean Affairs Council will conduct assessment and management of marine protected areas, prevent and control marine alien species, and establish inter-ministerial cooperation and joint detection mechanisms.
    5. The Ocean Affairs Council will strengthen the development and promotion of marine conservation teaching materials, expand public participation in marine conservation, and actively participate in international cross-domain conservation plans and activities.
    6. The Ocean Affairs Council will expand the marine conservation database, integrate scientific research or environmental assessment data such as sea water quality and ecology, and provide scientific utilization or policy assessment references.
  • Pollution Prevention

    1. In line with Taiwan’s green energy policy aimed at sustainable cleanliness and energy independence, the Ocean Affairs Council will cooperate with the “Green Energy Industry Promotion Center” to master the development process of renewable energy sources such as “offshore wind power,” invite stakeholders at the policy formation stage through continuous communication and dialogue, and conduct careful assessment of possible ocean impacts with a view to building consensus and actively resolving disputes.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will set marine environmental classifications and marine environmental quality standards, delimit marine control zones, and establish marine environmental control standards based on the nation’s overall marine environmental protection purposes. The Ocean Affairs Council will extensively collect domestic and foreign marine information, strengthen central and local interactions, implement policy advocacy, communication and coordination, and cooperate fully with local governments and civil society to continuously implement clean-up plans and develop effective decontamination machines and/or decontamination tools.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will use technologies such as telemetry, oil fingerprint comparison, sample analysis testing, and numerical simulation of oil spill drift and diffusion to diagnose pollution sources, ascertain the amount of oil spill pollution, oil spill diffusion range and process, etc. to determine whether seawater quality, marine bottoms, marine life and marine protected areas are affected by oil spills.
    4. The Ocean Affairs Council will establish a legislative procedure for the compensation system for marine ecological damage, and clearly define the subject of liability, the scope of compensation and related standards, procedures, and the use and management of compensation, so as to provide economic regulation and sustainable mechanism for marine ecological protection.
    5. The Ocean Affairs Council will regularly monitor the environmental water quality of ports and sea areas, strengthen the rate of water quality achievement, and complete an environmental monitoring network for the water environment.
    6. The Ocean Affairs Council will increase emergency response energy from ship accident pollution, prevent waste, waste oil and sewage from land and ships from being dumped into the sea, effectively remove submarine (drift) waste, and detect illegal pollution at sea.
  • Intelligence Network

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will use technology and equipment to closely grasp the situation in the maritime area, integrate national security resources from national defense and intelligence units through horizontal contacts, collect and analyze important sea-related security information in real time, and build the marine strategies accordingly.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will pay close attention to the dynamics of the countries surrounding the South China Sea, implement the Dongsha Islands (Pratas Islands) / Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) defense, enhance maritime patrol energy, strengthen fishing protection policies, and assert sovereignty to protect fishing rights and ensure Taiwan’s marine rights.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will improve Taiwan’s maritime status information network, combine domestic research and development resources, realize national defense independence, grasp the development of the Asia-Pacific situation, and build a new-generation joint defense mechanism to jointly safeguard Taiwan’s maritime security.
  • Cracking Down on Wrongdoings

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will strengthen the task of protecting fisheries in the exclusive economic zone and patrolling the high seas, safeguarding the rights conferred by international law, cracking down on wrongdoings, fulfilling international responsibilities, and promoting sea cruise diplomacy. The Ocean Affairs Council will strictly ban cross-border fishing and illegal gravel mining, implement law enforcement actions, and maintain order in Taiwan’s seas.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will work closely with the epidemic prevention authorities to strengthen border management, strictly investigate illegally smuggled agricultural, fishing, and livestock products, and adjust and deploy the Coast Guard Administration’s ship configuration and service before various epidemic seasons occur, so as to effectively prevent outbreaks abroad.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will maintain maritime law and order, strengthen cross-border crime detection, effectively prevent guns, drugs, smuggling and illegal entry and exit activities, stabilize cross-strait and international collaborative law enforcement platforms, and ensure sustainable fishery resources. The Ocean Affairs Council will strictly control borders, prevent smuggling of farming, fishing, and livestock products and carry out quarantine work, prevent invasion of disease, ensure industrial development and protect the health of people.
  • Life-Saving Resue

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will develop a special law on sea area management in order to promote the safety of ship navigation; cultivate professional manpower for shipwreck rescue; promote the “coast guard ship development plan”; enrich the marine disaster prevention energy and improve the efficiency of shipwreck rescue.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will continue to promote the humanitarian rescue policy in the South China Sea, strengthen the rescue energy of Taiping Island, and implement the policy of establishing a humanitarian rescue center and transportation base in the South China Sea to realize the universal value of humanitarian rescue.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will uphold the spirit of regional joint defense, subsidize the government to strengthen sea / coast rescue energy, and improve regional search and rescue cooperation networks. The Ocean Affairs Council will strengthen the reporting of violations in water recreation activities, promote the delineation of dangerous sea areas by competent authorities, and improve the emergency rescue mechanism for sea areas.
  • Education as the Foundation

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will organize a series of celebrations for “World Oceans Day” in order to raise people’s awareness of the ocean and to understand our ocean governance. The Ocean Affairs Council will produce and distribute paper-based and electronic marine announcements to central, local governments, colleges and universities, and civil society organizations, specify the dispatching units of the various agencies as the “ocean stations,” and conduct synchronous marketing through multiple channels.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will co-curate exhibitions with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture in social education venues to promote marine science knowledge and marine culture. The Ocean Affairs Council will assist the Ministry of Education in implementing the syllabus of marine education in the 12-year national basic education, training seed teachers, and integrating education resources to make schools at all levels become the field for young students to cultivate the concept of an ocean-based nation. In addition, the Ocean Affairs Council will regularly train personnel from central ministries and local governments to handle marine affairs, so as to enhance the marine professional knowledge of human resources in the public service system.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will work with universities to promote the opening of on-the-job master’s classes in marine affairs aimed at cultivating marine law and politics talents, and to recruit outstanding staff to attend relevant classes to enhance the essential academic ability to participate in international affairs.
    4. The Ocean Affairs Council will handle marine law enforcement, conservation, industrial manpower training and certification, nurture and recruit marine talents in an all-round way, and promote diversified channels aimed at employing marine talents. In addition, the Ocean Affairs Council will promote an industry-academia alliance, promote the dissemination and exchange of research and development results, and improve the marine manpower training mechanism.
  • Culture Heritage

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will cooperate with the Ministry of Culture to investigate the underwater cultural assets in the sea area near Taiwan, enhance domestic research capacity through cooperation and exchange with international experts, publicize the concept of preservation of underwater cultural assets, set up protected areas, combine cultural tourism and ecotourism, and use the proceeds as a source of funds for asset protection to form a positive feedback mechanism.
    2. The government should establish an appropriate mechanism to respect, maintain, and preserve marine cultural assets such as the wisdom of traditional sea use, protect and inherit the traditional sea use culture and the rights and interests of indigenous peoples, and take into account scientific management of fisheries.
  • Smart Ocean

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will cooperate with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Defense and colleges and universities to make use of space observation technology, expand the depth of fundamental research, and feed the obtained hydrological data to practical applications. The Ocean Affairs Council will connect cross-ministerial systems through map overlay and analysis to provide reference applications in the fields of industry, government, academia, and research, thereby improving the efficiency of public services.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will unify Taiwan’s marine scientific research capacity, carry out scientific surveys and technical studies on marine substrates, ecology, and hydrology, plan the establishment of the National Ocean Observation Network and the Marine Database, and implement and advance Taiwan’s marine scientific research work to emulate the international marine scientific research. In addition, the Ocean Affairs Council will deepen the research and development of key technologies, guide the innovative applications of the marine industry, and promote the development of the marine industry.
  • Contribution to the International Community

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will continue to actively participate in international ocean affairs, pragmatically seek to increase cooperation opportunities with third parties or international cooperation agencies, break through the status of diplomacy, diversify and enhance the degree and quality of international ocean affairs participation, and at the same time strengthen links with countries around the world. The Ocean Affairs Council will actively promote two-way or multilateral international cooperation and talent exchange, expand international space, and safeguard Taiwan’s maritime rights and interests.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will act as a window for the integration of Taiwan’s international ocean policy, actively develop the strategic direction of ocean international affairs, integrate relevant departments to research and propose initiatives for Taiwan’s areas of strength, establish a dominant position in ocean issues, strengthen international substantial influence, and master the right to speak internationally, establish the image of a maritime country, and become a model of maritime value.
    3. The Ocean Affairs Council will closely grasp the latest pulse of international ocean affairs, actively promote the domestic legalization process of the International Ocean Convention, and improve Taiwan’s laws and regulations to make it conform to the international social system and make Taiwan comply with the world trend and fulfill its international responsibility.
  • Transnational Collaboration

    1. The Ocean Affairs Council will actively participate in international affairs, strengthen ocean-related soft power / hard power, link countries through the ocean interface, expand international participation, and break through diplomatic status. Through diplomatic, economic, trade, educational, scientific and other channels, The Ocean Affairs Council will assist and promote our young students to travel to international institutions and venues for international exchanges and apprenticeships, promote participation in international affairs, and nurture talents in international marine related fields.
    2. The Ocean Affairs Council will promote sustainable ocean development, deepen marine environmental protection education, strengthen ocean protection actions, actively participate in relevant activities of international organizations, take the initiative to guide discussions on ocean issues, conduct large-scale international seminars or forums, and invite public and private sector representatives from neighboring countries to discuss the countermeasures together. In addition, the Ocean Affairs Council will also make ocean education will take root and allow young international students to care more about the ocean, in hope that young students can develop ideas and transform enthusiasm into practical participation. Through their actions, young students can help break through the marine predicament and sow the seeds of ocean education.

Source: Ocean Affairs Council

Seaweed takes scientists on trip ‘through time’ in the waters of Monterey Bay

Study uses data, locked in century old pressed algae, to reveal the mysteries of Monterey Bay’s marine life

Pressed algae - Monterey Bay Aquarium.png

Pressed algae – Monterey Bay Aquarium

New research led by Monterey Bay Aquarium is helping to unlock the natural history of one of the most studied places on the planet. By tapping into a collection of dried, pressed seaweed — that dates back more than 140 years — researchers with the Aquarium’s Ocean Memory Lab can now offer a window back in time to understand what the bay was like before the impacts of modern human activity.

Read the paper, “Herbaria macroalgae as a proxy for historical upwelling trends in Central California,” at the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Deep marine canyons, a myriad migratory species and an abundant source of nutrients supplied by natural upwelling have attracted the massive concentration of marine science currently focused on Monterey Bay. Despite this proliferation of study and observation here, scientists had always been limited in their attempts to establish baselines of ecosystem health by the extent of available data, which in Monterey Bay extends back to 1946 when the patterns of its natural upwelling started being recorded.

“This part of California’s Central coast is renowned for the sheer amount of marine life it can sustain. Even through the pressures of the past century, Monterey Bay is still teeming with birds, whales, fishes and seaweeds,” said Monterey Bay Aquarium Chief Scientist Kyle Van Houtan. “These plants and animals were around long before scientists, so we thought if we could find historical samples we might learn something by extracting the information stored in their tissues.”

Using that approach, the Ocean Memory Lab generates new information about the ocean’s past by combing through scientific collections, museums, and other historical archives. These repositories contain specimens of marine life that have data on ocean conditions locked within their fronds, feathers, shells and other tissues. Aquarium scientists use a variety of chemical analyses to unlock the data held within sample tissues to provide more accurate baselines, and help inform decisions intended to maintain or restore ocean health.

“We were able to add nearly seven decades of data, extracted from seaweed samples more than a century old, to better understand historical changes in Monterey Bay,” said Emily Miller, the lead author of the study for the Aquarium and now a researcher at partner institution, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. “This information offers us a new perspective on one of the features that makes Monterey Bay home to such diversity, its upwelling cycles. Documenting these patterns helps us to understand shifts in the foundation of the food web, and to make more informed conservation decisions in the future.”

Working with colleagues from Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station and the University of Hawaii, Aquarium researchers based the study on data from the chemical analysis of pressed seaweed samples sourced from herbarium collections from several institutions, dating back to 1878, as well as freshly collected specimens. The samples analyzed came from six species of seaweed, also called macroalgae, that included giant kelp, rockweed, sea lettuce, and grape tongue.

“Izzy Abbott, who was professor of biology at Hopkins, helped to curate and build our collection of algae for over 25 years,” said Stephen Palumbi, a professor of marine biology at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. “She and the algae biologists that came before her knew that preserving specimens was vital. But it took this new approach from Monterey Bay Aquarium to dig into the very atoms of the algae and ask the kelp forest questions about the history of the oceans.”

Researchers calibrated the accuracy of their chemical analysis by comparing nitrogen stable isotopes from a red algae, Gelidium, with the Bakun upwelling index, a record of the natural Monterey Bay phenomenon going back to 1946. They found a high correlation between the index and data derived from the algae samples from 1946-2018, which demonstrated the nitrogen isotopes in the algae could be used to determine the upwelling pattern. Researchers then used older algae specimens to extend the Bakun upwelling index back to 1878, 70 years before it began being monitored.

One of the research’s novel findings, drawn from the additional seven decades of information offered within the seaweed samples, shed more light into ocean conditions in Monterey Bay during the sardine fishery’s famous boom and bust in the 1940s and 1950s. Researchers documented poor upwelling conditions in Monterey Bay in the years immediately prior to the crash. This discovery adds a new dimension to an understanding of what role ecosystem changes may have played in the shift from a sardine-dominated system to one that is anchovy-dominated. It could also further inform how fishery management practices are implemented to respond to environmental conditions, something known as ecosystem-based management.


President vows to make Taiwan sustainable maritime nation

Taipei, June 8 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) vowed on Monday to develop Taiwan into a sustainable maritime nation as the country marked World Oceans Day and its first-ever National Oceans Day.

“Taiwan is surrounded by ocean. Oceans connect us to the world and bring limitless possibilities,” Tsai said on a Facebook post.

“Aside from continuing to strengthen maritime security, we will diversify our maritime industries, in consideration of ecological conservation and sustainable maritime development,” Tsai said, adding that she will encourage the country to embrace the oceans through friendlier regulations and policies.

June 8 was recognized as World Oceans Day by the United Nations in 2008, 16 years after the concept was introduced by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit.

Taiwan, for its part, has set the same date as National Oceans Day through legislation in 2019 in support of the World Oceans Day initiatives and to raise public awareness of marine conservation in Taiwan society.

Tsai said the government will continue to introduce policies that promote maritime affairs and make Taiwan a “sustainable maritime nation in which ecology, prosperity and security can coexist.”

The president also invited the public to visit an exhibition organized by the Ocean Affairs Council, held Monday at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, in which the accomplishments of several ocean-related agencies are on display.

Meanwhile, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) shared a video message from its director, Brent Christensen, on Facebook, congratulating Taiwan on National Oceans Day.

“The AIT is proud to partner with the Ocean Affairs Council in hosting the Southern Taiwan Youth Ocean Forum in 2019, promoting youth awareness on maritime protection issues,” Christensen said.

“I hope that the United States and Taiwan will continue to deepen their partnerships in maritime issues in the future, promote the sustainable development of maritime industry and resources, and take part in activities related to marine ecosystem protection,” he added.

Apart from the youth forum, Taiwan and the U.S. in 2016 also co-organized the Taipei-leg event of the Fishackathon, a science and technology contest that seeks to address sustainable fishery challenges.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Chen Yun-yu and Emerson Lim)



Cabinet passes Taiwan’s first marine policy white paper

CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, June 4 (CNA) The Executive Yuan on Thursday passed the nation’s first marine policy white paper that provides guidelines to government branches for implementing their respective ocean-related policies, with the aim of promoting the sustainable development of the country’s marine affairs.

Ocean Affairs Council (OAC) Department of Comprehensive Planning chief Shen Chien-chung (沈建中) said the white paper lists a number of concrete goals in the hope of creating a marine country that is “ecological, safe and prosperous.”

The paper also proposes methods to safeguard national marine rights and interests, such as enhancing national marine scientific knowledge, deepening diversified marine culture, creating a healthy marine environment, promoting sustainable resources, improving the development of the marine industry and promoting regional and international marine affairs cooperation, Shen told a news conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

According to Shen, the white paper was written in accordance with the Ocean Basic Act which was passed in November 2019.

Article 15 of the act stipulates that the central government is obliged to release the white paper within one year after the implementation of the act.

The white paper will be made public by the OAC soon, according to the Executive Yuan.

Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has instructed the government at all levels to study the white paper when it is released and review related policies and measures currently in place accordingly, said Cabinet spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘).

(By Wang Cheng-chung, Ku Chuan and Joseph Yeh)