Mar. Res. 2022/12
Vol.2, Iss.2 :1-23
An Appraisal on The Ecological Controversy and Conservation Strategy Resulting from The 2021 Referendum for Taoyuan Algal Reefs in Northwestern Taiwan

Hsing-Juh Lin1, Hwey-Lian Hsieh2, Chang-Po Chen2 and Kwang-Tsao Shao2
1Department of Life Sciences and Innovation and Development Center of Sustainable Agriculture, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
2Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Abstract: The year 2021 witnessed the ecological controversy of algal reefs due to the proposed referendum for the removal of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals from algal reefs at Datan (大潭). Even though in the end the referendum failed to win the required voting threshold, the public still fails to comprehend the core issues involved with the referendum. In this review, seven scientific criteria listed by the Global Ocean Initiative (GOBI) were applied to assess whether Datan algal reefs could qualify as a marine protected area (MPA). The results showed that the majority of the highlights of the biodiversity of Datan algal reefs as claimed by the environmental organization "Action Alliance of Saving Data Algal Reef" were derived by incorrect methods, conjectures or exaggerations, which were evidently different from the facts. In order to effectively conserve and restore Datan algal reefs, it is suggested: (1) to implement the environmental commitments on Datan algal reefs; (2) to continuously input more efforts in the existing MPA (Guanxin [觀新] Algal Reefs Ecosystem Wildlife Refuge) so that it can provide the positive spill-over effect on nearby Datan algal reefs; (3) to mitigate, remove, and avoid sedimentation on the algae reefs; (4) to better understand the biology of the reef-building crustose coralline algae; (5) to study the biology of the protected coral Polycyathus chaishanensis; (6) to conduct the overall strategy to protect the Taoyuan coast and prevent and mitigate pollution; (7) to conduct ecological monitoring of Taoyuan algal reef
ecosystems. In this way, existing algal reefs can provide ecological functions such as benefiting the recruitment of invertebrates and providing shelters for small benthos that would subsequently become prey for macrofauna and shorebirds. Eventually, the algal reef ecosystems should be able to provide its ecosystem services.

Keywords:  crustose coralline algae, liquefied natural gas terminal, marine protected area, Polycyathus chaishanensis, sedimentation.

*Corresponding author; e-mail: hjlin@dragon.nchu.edu.tw
© 2022  Marine Research , ISSN 2709-6629 

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