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Taiwan Hosts the APEC Roundtable Discussion for Sustainability of the Marine Environment

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On 16-17 October 2017, the EPA hosted the 18th APEC Roundtable Meeting on Participation of the Business/Private Sector in Sustainability of the Marine Environment. Eight members of APEC sent delegates: Taiwan, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. The participants were from governmental and non-governmental organizations and private enterprises. Experts discussed two major issues – marine environmental protection and food security and marine resources – focusing on enhancing the participation of the private sector in the safeguarding of the marine environment and to ensure the sustainable utilization of marine resources.

The EPA stated that countries worldwide have been paying much attention to marine ecosystem conservation and the sustainable use of marine resources in recent years, and noted that the United Nations also lists marine issues as its Sustainable Development Goal 14. The EPA also placed “plasticfree ocean” and “marine waste reduction” among its priorities.

Dr. Huichen Chien, Executive Director of the EPA’s Office of Sustainable Development, emphasized in her opening remarks that marine resources are important food sources in the Asia-Pacific region. Climate change, pollution and overfishing put much pressure on marine resources. Only through the collaborative efforts of APEC members can marine ecosystem health be safeguarded.

During the two-day roundtable discussion, the participants proposed several suggestions concerning marine environmental protection as well as resource and food safety. Suggestions included improving marine monitoring systems and collaboration to reduce ocean trash and endocrine disrupting chemicals. In addition, the public and private sectors were encouraged to work together to reduce marine garbage, establish a public platform for information disclosure, and provide methods for implementation and enforcement. Governments can offer economic incentives to encourage fishermen to make use of environmentally friendly fishing nets and equipment. Improvements can be made through environmental education to encourage communities, fishermen, and enterprises to voluntarily participate in programs to protect the marine environment and also put an end to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the global market. There were also recommendations concerning marine resource management, climate change adaptation and marine environment protection in order to maintain food security.

A total of 16 participants presented papers on coastal environment monitoring systems, marine garbage management, reutilization of fishery waste, raising public awareness, and prevention of illegal fishing. The recommendations from the roundtable meeting will be given to the APEC’s Ocean and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) as a reference for its 2018 meetings.

Ministry of Environment