Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium opens in Kenting
Central News Agency
2014-06-23 10:59 PM
Taipei, June 23 (CNA) The 3rd Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium opened in Kenting on Monday with 500 scientists, government officials, and NGO representatives from 39 countries gathered to discuss the rising threat to the survival of coral reefs. Wang Wei-hsien, director of the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquariam that is sponsoring the five-day symposium, and former director Fang Li-hsing urged those in attendance to explore ways to monitor the health of coral reefs. The symposium invited 10 scientists who study the fragile marine ecosystems in the Asian Pacific region to give speeches. In addition, a total of more than 300 papers will be published. The museum said coral reefs in the region account for more than 30 percent of those that exist in the world, and the region has the highest diversity of hermatypic (reef-building) coral and coral reef co-dwellers. The Asia-Pacific coral reef ecosystem generates NT$72 billion in marine output annually, as well as NT$8 billion in tourism revenues and NT$1 billion in economic benefits in coastline preservation, the museum said. But this high-value sector is now being threatened by overfishing, ocean pollution and human development and also faces challenges from the rising temperature and acidification of the ocean. The first symposium aimed at tackling the problems facing coral reefs was held in Hong Kong in 2006 and the second was held in Thailand in 2010. (By Kuo Chih-hsuan and Lilian Wu)
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