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By Shih Hsiu-chuan / Staff reporter
The legislature yesterday approved an amendment to the Wildlife
Protection Act (野生動物保育法) to provide marine mammals better protection --
making Taiwan the first country in Asia to prohibit the sale of marine
mammals and related products.
According to the approved amendment,
marine mammals and products made from marine mammals are prohibited from
being imported to or exported from the country, unless permission is
obtained from the Council of Agriculture.
Individuals who violate the
regulation could be fined between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000.
amendment would affect the sale of harp seal oil and other harp seal
products, which have been widely advertised on TV and in shops as "health
An exemption was made for Aboriginal people, who are allowed
to hunt marine mammals in traditional Aboriginal territory to supply for
their needs, after obtaining permission from the council.
amendment, the council is entitled to draw up management bylaws to clamp
down on sales of banned products on the Internet.
The Environment &
Animal Society of Taiwan hailed the passage of the amendment, saying that
the move would help save harp seals, whose numbers have dwindled amid global
Also approved by the legislature was an amendment to the Act
Governing the Examination of Special Professions and Techniques
The amendment stipulated that any form of cheating in
exams -- sitting an exam under a false name, or registering for an exam
using fake identification -- would result in a five-year ban from any tests
hosted by the Examination Yuan.