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Taiwan's outlying marine ecology severely damaged by Chinese sand dredging

Taiwan Strait's shallow waters prime target for Chinese sand dredging ships: Research institute

Chinese sand dredging ship

Chinese sand dredging ship (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Academy of Marine Research (NAMR) has found that the Taiwan Banks, located southwest of the island county of Penghu, have been severely damaged by Chinese vessels dredging hundreds of millions of cubic meters of sand every year.

NAMR pointed out that because the Taiwan Banks is a shoal with an average water depth of only 20 meters, it is an excellent habitat for marine life. As a result, it is a target of Chinese sand dredging ships whose operations seriously damage the local marine ecology, the Liberty Times reported.

In order to accurately gauge the severity of the damage, the NAMR sent a research ship to conduct multi-beam topographic mapping of the Taiwan Banks. It confirmed that there are obvious unnatural pits in the seabed, especially in shallow and sloped areas.

The institute said it hopes to better understand the impact of Chinese sand dredging on the marine ecology of the banks by tracking the damage over a long period of time.