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Pingtung to implement conservation fee for Liuqiu Island intertidal zones

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Visitors gather at an intertidal zone of Pingtung County's Liuqiu Island beach in this photo released Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Government
Divers clean up marine debris in the sea near Pingtung County's Liuqiu Island in this photo released Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Governent

Taipei, April 16 (CNA) Visitors to three intertidal zones on Liuqiu Island, located just off the southwestern coast of Taiwan, will be charged a fee of NT$60 (US$1.84) from July 1 to help better conserve marine ecology, the Pingtung County government said Tuesday.

The fee, a first for Taiwan's outlying islands, will be used to conserve ecology, educate tourists, train staff, and restore the natural environment, the county government said in a statement.

It will be applied to the intertidal zones in Shanfu, Yuchengwei, and Duziping, the statement added.

An intertidal zone is the area where the ocean meets the land between high and low tides.

Meanwhile, additional crowd control measures will limit the number of people allowed in an intertidal zone to 300 at any given time, with visitors required to follow specified routes, the county government said.

Entry will also be prohibited for all individuals from Dec. 1 to March 31 during the allotted "rest period," according to the county government.

During the breeding season between April 1 and June 15, entry will also be prohibited from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning, it said.

Night tours will be permitted from June 16 to Nov. 30, but participants will be required to use red lights because they minimize disturbance to wildlife, it added.

Chen Wen-yu (陳文玉), chairman of an organization dedicated to promoting ecotourism on Liuqiu Island, expressed that the new measure would help preserve the local environment which has suffered damage due to an influx of tourists in recent years.

According to research conducted by a National Sun Yat-sen University professor last year, the density of benthic macroinvertebrates at that time was just 43 percent of the 2014 level.

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