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To promote marine conservation, the Marine National Park Headquarters, with assistance of the Lanyu (Orchid Island) Township Office, established the “Lanyu Marine Cultural Resource and Conservation Promotion Center” on August 15 at Lanyu. Dignitaries attending the inauguration included Director Mo-Lin Yang of the MNPH, Mayor Duo-Li Jiang of the Lanyu Township Office, Village Council Representatives Bi-Mei Huang, Jin-Shang Zhang, Qiu-Jin Zhou, Hu-Yuan Xie, Secretary Xian-Zhi Huang, and A-Sheng Xie, Village Chief of the Hongtou village. Other participants of the ceremony included members from local community development associations, NGOs and the local fire department.

The Lanyu Township Office has been actively promoting preservation of Lanyu’s marine cultural heritage and its related education, which is inline with MNPH’s philosophy of marine culture and resource conservation. Moreover, there are few cultures in Taiwan that are as deeply based on oceanic beliefs. To ensure the continuation of the balangay culture, the MNPH has been running programs that focus on developing local human resource empowerment, such as diving guides and natural/ecological tour guides. The MNPH leased an empty lot from the Township Office next to the fire department, uses it as a gathering place for discussion on issues such as marine cultures and ecological sustainability, and also as a place for local residents to express their opinions.

The tasks of the Conservation Center include continuation of Lanyu’s marine cultural heritage, advocacy of marine resource conservation, holding seminars on marine conservation, human resource empowerment programs, and education programs. Moreover, to ensure that any future events will fit local needs, the center will have long-term staff directly discuss with members of local tribes.

Director Yang of the MNPH expressed hopes to showcase Lanyu’s marine cultural heritage to everyone in Taiwan, and in the future, to the rest of the world. He also hopes to build communication platforms with local residents in order to protect marine resources together. Mayor Jiang hopes that the MNPH will continue to preserve the biological environments of Lanyu, and help turn the beautiful and abundant natural resources of Lanyu into viable tourism assets. After the inauguration, Shu-Guo Xu, section chief of the MNPH’s Interpretation and Education Section, led everyone on a tour of the Conservation Center. A tea party was held in the visitor center after the ceremony, and the MNPH presented a photograph of the brave Tao men who participated in the “Crossing the Kuroshio and Visiting Taiwan” event, commemorating their efforts. Secretary Zheng-De Huang, owner of the balangay, commented that amongst the people to thank for the event, none deserves more applause than the construction team and the brave sailors. Although the event has ended, the Si Mangavang did not stop its travels. Du-Hun Huang, a local elder, expressed gratitude for offering youngsters the chance to learn the techniques of balangay building, allowing cultural heritage to pass on to the next generation. The youngsters were also thankful for the opportunity to create history by following in the footsteps of their predecessors. The party ended with the local resident offering their opinions and suggestions on marine resource conservation.

The MNPH hopes that the establishment of the Conservation Center will further improve upon the effort of preserving Lanyu’s marine cultural heritages, and looks forward to cooperating with locals to guard the natural beauty of Lanyu.

Exterior of the Lanyu Marine Cultural Resource and Conservation Promotion Center Lanyu Marine Cultural Resource and Conservation Promotion Center opening ceremony
Director Yang of the MNPH presentes commemorative photo of dragon boat rowing to the owner of the large boat, secretary Huang Zheng-de Director Yang of the MNPH presents commemorative photo of dragon boat rowing to one of the warriors, head of township Jian Duo-li