The “International Conference on Sustainable Marine Tourism in Eastern Taiwan” will be held in late September of 2018 (Sept. 19-20) in Taitung, Taiwan, and this year’s themes will be 1) marine ecology, 2) human-ocean interactions, 3) impacts of tourism on the world's oceans: the push towards sustainability and 4) traditional practices in the usage and management of the ocean.

Regarding the latter topic, it is commonly believed that the Austronesian diaspora that perpetuated throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, which laid the cultural foundations for regions as diverse and distant as Madagascar and Hawaii, originated in Taiwan over 3,000 years ago, and the ancestors of these ancient people still reside in Taiwan to this day; indeed, their traditional knowledge stands to aid in current efforts to conserve our oceans for future generations.

Being a small, highly densely populated island, Taiwan’s footprint on its oceans has nevertheless been substantial, and, while some such threats are global in scale (e.g., climate change), it is not too late to sustainably manage Taiwanese oceans in a manner that would also result in the following: 1) improvements in the availability and quality of marine tourism activities (without simultaneously compromising the health of the oceans), 2) greater job opportunities in coastal areas, 3) a consideration of local indigenous cultures, with due respect being paid to their traditional means of living in harmony with the ocean, and 4) a raised level of public awareness of our human impact on the oceans and how we can work to lessen it (i.e., by prioritizing education on marine ecology, conservation, and sustainability).

It is hoped that, by interacting with not only top scientists from both Taiwan, Southeast Asia, the United States, and elsewhere, but also local, concerned citizens, the dialogue and scientific discourse generated as part of this conference will be used outline a pragmatic plan-of-action for the sustainable use of marine resources in Eastern Taiwan and other parts of the globe in the near future.