Related government agencies and experts in Taiwan are currently conducting evaluations on whether to open an offshore island national park in the South China Sea for tourism and environmental education activities, the Marine National Park Headquarters (MNPH) said recently.
“Experts are now in talks on whether to allow tourists to visit Dongsha Island in the Dongsha Atoll National Park,” Lyu jhih-guang, deputy director of the MNPH told The China Post during a recent interview.
According to Lyu, the national park was officially founded in 2007.
Back then, the government conducted environmental monitoring, restoration and scientific research at the park, which has since been off-limits to the public to preserve and protect the unique marine ecological resources of the atoll.
But it also said that it will re-evaluate whether to open the park for low-impact eco-tourism and environmental education following a five-year period after its inauguration, he noted.
Lyu said related government agencies and marine ecology specialists are holding discussions to decide the future of the park which is located about 445 kilometers south of Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung.
“We are going to launch a small (about 20 people) environmental education tour regularly starting next year, after accommodation facilities have improved and are ready to welcome visitors,” he added.
Rich coral reef ecosystem in Dongsha
Currently, Dongsha Island is guarded by Taiwanese coastguardsmen and is home to some MNPH staff, Lyu said.
Dongsha Atoll National Park is the first Marine National Park in the nation that is centred on the protection of marine ecological resources, according to the MNPH.
Featuring a large atoll landscape, Dongsha is known for its rich coral reef ecosystem, also known as a “Marine Rainforest,” which nurtures abundant species of marine life.
The Dongsha Marine National Park is the seventh national park of Taiwan. The park is located in the South China Sea and includes the atolls and surrounding areas. The total area is 3,537 square kilometers.
The government had decided to set up a national park in Dongsha with the aim of protecting the precious natural resources and marine life at the atoll after scientists in 1998 discovered that coral reefs around the world have suffered bleaching due to global warming.
The national parks of Taiwan are now operated by the Ministry of the Interior.Source: The China Post/ANN – Taiwan govt mulls opening South China Sea park
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