Rediscovery of Taiwan Ocean Heritage and Its Sustainability

Ku-Jung Lin*, Cheng-Yi Lin**
Author Information & Copyright
*Ph.D., National Chengchi University, Taiwan. Associate Professor, Institute of Oceanic Culture & Chair of Bachelor’s Degree in Ocean Tourism Management, National Taiwan Ocean University.
**Ph.D., National Taiwan Normal University, Assistant Professor, Institute of Applied English, National Taiwan Ocean University.

© Copyright 2018 KNMM·IOCC·APOCC. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Dec 31, 2018


Taiwan is surrounded by sea. With the interweaving impacts of its geographical location, geologic condition and historical development, Taiwan not only has its unique ecosystem, terrains and culture but also possesses rich oceanic culture and heritage. According to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act regulated by the Ministry of Culture in Taiwan, Taiwan owns tangible oceanic natural heritages, including Yehliu Geopark, Penghu Columnar Basalt Nature Reserve, Dongsha Marine National Park, and oceanic cultural heritages, such as Penghu stone weirs, Hengchun old gates, and Tamshui Fortress San Domingo. On the other hand, Taiwan possesses several precious intangible cultural heritages, such as Dajia Matsu pilgrimage procession, Jinshan sulfuric fire fishing, and Changhua oxcarts. In order to continuously maintain the oceanic ecosystem and cultural heritages in and around Taiwan, the government needs to not only establish a bureau to conduct a comprehensive survey to discover and reserve those precious marine heritages but also regulate laws and formulate policies to maintain, revitalize and reuse them. Moreover, the government should actively cultivate more professional talents, offer more chances to allow the public to participate, encourage closer cooperation between the public and private sectors, and integrate tourism resources, cultural assets and creative industries. Thus, the government can develop oceanic cultural industries combined with local features to increase the competitiveness of the tourism industries in Taiwan and boost local economic growth.

Keywords: sustainability; the UNESCO World Heritage Convention; cultural industries; tourism


“Culture is a collective habitual behavior of a group of people. When facing a foreign culture, human beings transfer their cultural patterns through contact, communication and mutual learning. During the process of cultural transfer, human heritage can prove the characteristics of its representative customs or civilization. Thus we must accept its representation and differences and maintain its existing values.”

cited from Patterns of Culture, Ruth Benedict, 1934

Cultural heritage, which contains a specific spiritual value and ways of thinking of residents in a region, demonstrates the liveliness and creativity of an ethnic group; it’s not only the distillation of wisdom from each ethnic group but also treasures of the civilization. Chang (2013) maintained that since cultural heritages are the activities and marks left by human beings in their living space for continual survival, it not only has a sense of approval and belonging of groups but also is worthy of being passed down and renovated. Therefore, its universality is worthwhile to be preserved. However, with the extension for human development and environmental transformation, many historical sites and relics are facing the crises of devastation and disappearance. For instance, in 1959, the Egyptian government planned to construct Aswan Dam at the Nile River, which might trigger the controversy of flooding the famous historic site-Abu Simbel Temples; therefore, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in November 1972 in Paris. The UNESCO is dedicated to keeping the cultural and natural heritage around the world from being eliminated by all types of natural and artificial factors.

In 1994, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO launched significant global policies, which aimed at establishing a list of evaluation of global heritage with representation, equilibrium, and credibility so as to have better maintenance and management. Up to 2018, the UNESCO has selected and registered 1092 world heritages, including 845 cultural heritages related to human activities, 209 natural heritages and 38 mixed cultural and natural heritages with both identities. In addition, there are 54 recorded in the endangered list. Furthermore, the concept of maintaining cultural assets keeps up with the times; thus, the UNESCO passed the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003. These intangible cultural items in the contract include languages, literature, music, dances, mythology, etiquette, habits and handicrafts. Up to 2017, 366 intangible cultural heritages have been selected and registered, as these are all vital assets for human beings. As a result, people have the responsibility and obligation to preserve, sustain and pass down to the next generation. Nevertheless, with the acceleration of global warming and modernization progress, cultural ecology is changing significantly. Cultural heritage and its environment are being threatened severely. Special heritages in some regions, which have not gained enough resources, have to be discovered urgently. Some endangered or idle heritages should be investigated and rediscovered or should be protected, revitalized and reused.

The marine regions accounting for about seventy percent of the earth surface area are not only rich in a diversity of creatures and mineral resources but also play an important role in the transmission and the loop of the global climate and the energy system. Moreover, the abundant ecology and the convenient transportation of the ocean are not only beneficial to the human residence but also drive the prosperity of the economy and trade. Therefore, over 60% of the population and over 70% of first-tier and second-tier cities are located in coastal areas. Due to this reason, the development of civilization and the shaping of culture are deeply nurtured and influenced by the ocean(Lin, 2015). However, in recent years, the ocean has been affected by global warming and environmental contamination, which results in problems, such as the rising of sea temperature, the elevation of sea level, and the sea pollution. These problems bring not only catastrophes to creatures and human in coastal areas but also the devastation which is steadily on the increase to marine heritage. For instance, 93% of corals in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are bleached, and the South Island ethnic Tuvalu may also be inundated by the rise of seawater. The researchers of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany warn that if the climatic temperature keeps rising, there will be 1.1% of land sinking into the bottom of the water. Then, 136 world heritage sites will be inundated, including the Sydney Opera House and the city of water-Venice. Hence, in 2005, the UNESCO launched the World Heritage Marine Programme with a view to effectively protecting the marine regions with present and potential value of heritage for the sustainable development of the marine ecology and environment.

The Natural and Cultural Heritage of Ocean around Taiwan

Taiwan is surrounded by sea. Geographically, it is located at the hub of traffic between Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia. Geologically, it is situated in the collision zone between the Eurasian and Pacific plates. Historically, it has undergone the management of many different ethnic groups. Under the intertwined background of these unique space-times, it has produced rich and special ecology, topography and humanism on the land of Formosa-Taiwan. Additionally, it has also created diverse and abundant marine cultures and assets. From tourism and leisure, industrial activities, literary and artistic creations to folk customs, they all have their own characteristics and connotations, which attract numerous local and foreign tourists to visit. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the latest 2017 global tourism competitiveness evaluation ranked Taiwan 30th in 136 countries or regions, making the name of Formosa famous in local and abroad.

It can be seen that Taiwan has excellent conditions to promote its own marine cultural heritage and can be transformed into cultural tourism assets. Richards (2001) believes that culture represents the uniqueness of the place and transforms cultural heritage into cultural tourism resources. This transformation not only enables the conservation of heritage itself to gain economic attention and support but also enhances people’s pride and recognition of local culture. What’s more, people will be more responsible and dedicated to protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the region. In 1982, Taiwan enacted the “Cultural Assets Preservation Law”, the main purpose of which was “to preserve and wisely use cultural assets, enrich the spiritual life of people, and promote multiculturalism”. In 2005, the Cultural Assets Preservation Act was amended to divide the name “Natural Cultural Landscape” into “cultural landscape” and “natural landscape”. The cultural landscape is supervised by the Cultural Construction Committee of the Executive Yuan (now the Ministry of Culture), and the natural landscape is supervised by the Agriculture Committee. In order to keep up with the World Heritage Convention, the “Cultural Assets Preservation Act” was revised again in 2016 to combine “natural landscape” with “natural monument” as natural asset categories. The natural landscape is divided into “natural reserve areas” and “geological parks”. Natural monuments are classified into three types, including “precious and rare plants”, “precious and rare minerals” and “special topography and geological phenomena”.

Currently, the registered natural assets related to the ocean and the coastal areas are Yehliu Coast Geopark on the north coast of Taiwan and the fringing reef coast in Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan. These attractions are praised to be marvelous uncanny workmanship. In addition, the “Blue Tears” of Mastu Island is a phenomenon caused by flocking dinoflagellates (Noctiluca scintillans), which produce the beautiful blue fluorescence in the coastal areas during the nights from April to September. CNN hailed it as the top 15 wonders of the world. Moreover, Taiwan’s only active volcanic island, KueiShan Island in Yilan, it looks like a turtle from the shape and also be selected as the top 12 islands with the most special appearance in the world by the famous travel website “When on earth”. What’s more, the Penghu Columnar Basalt Nature Reserve area is the joint of the volcanic lava flow shrinking during cooling, forming the hexagonal column or multi-corner column unique to the basalt. Later, due to the influence of sea erosion and other weathering, many high and low undulating and varied landscapes are formed. It is worth mentioning that in 2007 and 2009, Taiwan’s seventh Dongsha Atoll National Park and the eighth Taijiang National Park were born respectively. These two new national parks both contain land and sea areas. Dongsha Atoll National Park is Taiwan’s first marine national park. Its atoll topography is a circular island chain formed by coral reefs, and the middle is surrounded by a lagoon environment. Dongsha Atoll is the only large and complete development of circular reef in Taiwan. As for Tainan Taijiang National Park, located in the very west of Taiwan’s main island, has special topographical and geological landscapes such as the Zengwun Estuary Wetland and Sicao Wetland. They are international wetlands, which nurtures abundant biological resources with its nearby sea areas, portray fabulous and lively interactions between human and nature. Therefore, they are precious ecological and cultural resources, which are worth preserving and promoting.

In terms of the category of cultural landscape, the “Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage”, divided the cultural landscape into three categories (Wang and Fu, 2010), respectively including, “landscape designed and created intentionally by man”, “organically evolved landscape”, and “associative cultural landscape”. Taiwan’s “Detailed Rules for the Implementation of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act” lists several categories of cultural landscapes, including places with myths and legends, historical and cultural paths, religious landscapes, historical sites, historical events, and agricultural, forestry, and animal husbandry. There are also industrial landscapes, traffic landscapes, water conservancy facilities, military installations and other landscapes where humans interact with nature. Among them, some are more related to marine culture. For example, “stone weir” is a low wall made of rocks. It is submerged by the sea when the tide is high. It is exposed to the water surface when the tide is low. Fish was trapped in the stone wall of the weir, which was the natural fishing method that many Taiwanese and Penghu in coastal areas relied on before the 1980s. The 320 kilometer coastline of Peng-hu has up to 600 “stone weirs”. The number and density are among the best in the world. Qimei Twin-Hearts Stone Weir is the most famous one. Jibeiyu island, which is in the northern part of the Penghu, has the largest number of stone weirs. There are 116 weirs, and one-third of them are still in use. These traditional fishing methods not only constitute special local humanism landscapes but also are precious cultural crystallization and assets.

In addition, the lighthouses that guide ships sailing on the sea not only ensure the safety of navigation but also have the symbol of strengthening national sovereignty. Furthermore, as lighthouses are usually constructed in the foothills of the mountains, they offer stunning landscapes, which are often worthy of sightseeing. According to the Ministry of Communications, Taiwan’s lighthouses have been built for more than 150 years since its establishment in the Qing Dynasty. At present, there are 35 lighthouses in Taiwan, including 19 on the main island. Many of the lighthouses have undergone various eras. With their different architectural styles and abundant literature and history, they are highly qualified as cultural assets. For instance, the Penghu Yuwengdao Lighthouse built in 1778, is the earliest-constructed lighthouse in Taiwan. It has been listed as a national second-class monument. The Eluanbi Lighthouse built in 1881 is the southernmost lighthouse in Taiwan. Additionally, it is also the unique armed lighthouse in the world. The northernmost Fuguijiao Lighthouse on the island of Taiwan is the first lighthouse built in the Japanese colonial period in 1896. With a view to rediscovering and redefining the geographical and historical status of the lighthouse, the Ministry of Culture upgraded the Matsu Dongyin Island Lighthouse and the Kinmen Wuqiu Lighthouse to the National Historic Site in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The Dongyin Island Lighthouse built in 1904 is the historic site located in the northernmost of the Taiwanese area. While the Wuqiu Lighthouse was built in 1874 and has been through 143 years of history.

Additionally, due to the special geographical location, since the seventeenth century, Taiwan has been ruled by the Netherlands, Spain, the Qing Empire, and Japan. All of them contribute to the development of both maritime and international duality in history. Therefore, in many parts of Taiwan, defensive castles, old gates, and forts are still retained, which constantly record the space-time background and environments of the place, such as Anping Castle in Tainan City (built in 1624) and Chihkan Tower (built in 1653). The Fortress San Domingo of New Taipei City (Anthony Fort, built in 1644) witnessed the historical facts of the Western powers colonizing Taiwan at that time. The cities built in the Qing Dynasty, such as the old city of Fengshan County (also known as Zuoying Old City, built in 1722) and Tainan Fucheng (built in 1725) have nearly three hundred years of history, while the ancient Hengchun city built in 1875 still retains the most complete city gates; the well-known Taipei City was completed in 1884. At present, only the North Gate remains its original appearance. It is the masterpiece of Taiwan’s new city gates and the country’s first-class monument. The rest of the city gates were demolished or rebuilt, which demonstrates the significance of preserving cultural heritage. As for the turret, it is an important facility for military defense. Many fortresses for coastal defense are equipped with turrets. The northernmost “Harbour City”—Keelung on Taiwan main island, surrounded by mountains on three sides and left the north side facing toward the ocean, is a natural harbor. Moreover, it is also located in the vital communication hub of economic and trade. Thus, from Taiwan’s governor—Liu Mingchuan in Qing dynasty, forts have been constructed at commanding heights around Keelung so as to facilitate the defense. Later, the Japanese and National Government moved to Taiwan and reinforced the artillery fortification in this area. As a result, Keelung has the largest number of fort sites in the city today. There are a total of 13 big and small forts in the city. For instance, Dawulun Fort, Baimiweng Fort, Shihciouling Gun Emplacement, Gongzi Liao Fort, Ershawan Battery, Mushan Fort, and Sheliao West Fort, among which 5 forts have been included in monuments. Regardless of the past military facilities, such as forts, barracks, and campgrounds, are generally preserved. The Keelung City Hall has embarked on building a fort museum with an eye to witnessing the history of Keelung military strategies and wisely using the monuments.

The Intangible Ocean cultural heritage in Taiwan

The so-called cultural assets can be divided into tangible cultural assets and intangible ones, and intangible cultural assets can also be called as “intangible cultural heritages”. This is owing to the increasing growth of emphasis on the standards of “actions or traditions, thoughts or beliefs, arts or literary works that are directly or virtually related to remarkable universal values”. Therefore, within the “Recommendation on the safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore” in 1989, “UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity” in 2001 and “Declaration of Istanbul” in 2002 by the Third Round-table Meeting of Ministers of Culture, the UNESCO emphasized the importance of intangible cultural heritage repeatedly, and, at the same time, took into account the interdependent relationship between intangible and tangible cultural heritages, and the contribution intangible cultural heritage made on human cultural diversity and creativity. Hence the purpose of the “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritages”, which was enacted in 2003, is to protect and maintain local communities, their history, the surrounding and all the knowledge, the techniques and ceremonies that are closely related to the social life. Furthermore, it makes it possible to pass on into generations. However, the intangible culture based on human as its main body and media often increased the difficulty in its discovery and protection. This is due to the fact that the existence of non-figuration and the need to present at a specific time and space thus make it more worthy of attention.

Marine culture is related to the history of coastal residents’ activities, and is usually manifested in customs, religious beliefs, festival etiquette, literature and art, etc., so the above of which are mostly summed up as an intangible cultural asset. For example, ceremonies such as the Jhongyuan Ghost Festival, The Grappling with Ghosts Competition, Wang Yeh Boat-Burning Festival, and the Mazu Pilgrimage Procession are all important symbols of marine culture. Because fishermen need to “make their living depending on the sky” and “fight with the sea”, they become particularly pious on religious beliefs, and some customs and festivals related to fisheries were formed spontaneously. The major representative of marine religious beliefs is Mazu, the goddess of the sea on the southeastern coast of China and Taiwan. With the compassion and gentleness of women, she helps to save souls and soothe people’s nerves. While Taiwan was still in the agriculture society and was isolated, she brought great comfort and ease for the people. Mazu is not just the guardian of navigators, she could also help prevent from the damage of plague, pests, heavy rain, and bring cure for illness, disaster relief, marriage, fertility, etc. Therefore, the beliefs of worshiping Mazu are deeply rooted in the hearts of Taiwanese people. With the worshippers’ devout respect and ceremonies, it forms a life community. Every year, when it comes to the birthday of Mazu, which is in the third month of the lunar calendar, celebrations will be held throughout Taiwan. The worshippers would form a folk event, which is called “Craze for Mazu in March”. Among the worship events, the “Dajia Mazu pilgrimage procession” held by the Dajia Zhenlan Temple and “Worshiping Mazu” held by Baisha Temple in Miaoli are the most representative ones. Take “Dajia Mazu pilgrimage procession” as an example. The event lasts 9 days and 8 nights, with the participation of 1.5 million pilgrims and over 400 parade formation, the whole journey is approximately 330 kilometers long, stopping at Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi and more than 20 other towns and cities throughout Taiwan. This is not only an important religious and cultural event in Taiwan, but also chosen as one of the world’s three major religious events by Discovery Channel, one of the leading international media. In May 2010, the UNESCO officially listed the act of the worship of Mazu as “an intangible cultural heritage of mankind”. The ceremony of Taiwan’s Mazu pilgrimage procession reflects the historical background of Chinese people emigrating through the Taiwan Strait to Taiwan. Meanwhile, it is also a typical representation of marine culture.

In addition to the well-known Mazu pilgrimage procession, “Wang Ye pilgrimage procession” is also a very popular religious event in the southern Taiwan. How people worship Wang Ye is different from temple to temple. For example, Renshou Temple in Guiren, Tainan, calls the ceremony “Five Dynasties Wang Shuo”. The Qing’an Temple in Xigang, Tainan, calls their ceremony, commonly known as “Xigang Incense Serving”. The Donglong Temple in Donggang, Pingtung, named the event “Welcoming Wang” Festival. The Changxing Temple in Anding District, Susong, Tainan, calls it the Plague King Festival. Among these events, the Donggang ceremony in the South and the Xigang ceremony in the North are the most famous because of their largest scale and the number of their parade participants. In these ceremonies, the burning of the Wang Boat is the most representative event. The original intention of burning the Wang Boat is to send the plague out. Until now it has evolved into an activity of praying for blessings. Take the QingAn Temple in Xigang as an example; the event takes place every three years. The whole process follows the tradition, including the activities of procession, Wang Ye Boat, Zheng Wang Festival, ancestors worshiping at Lu Er Men, Sending Mazu off, Burning Wang Boat and so on. In particular, the burning of Wang Boat on the last day is the climax of the whole ceremony. In 2009, the Council for Cultural Affairs named the “Xigang Incense Serving” as an important national intangible cultural asset based on three reasons. First, its historical inheritance and content of customs and habits show the typical characteristics of people’s life. Second, this ceremony is an important religious belief of Taiwanese people, and shows the characteristics of art. Third, the development and changes of folk art possesses local characteristics and affects people’s lives (Lin, 2015).

Marine cultural assets are also related to fishery activities, such as fishing methods, fishing boat construction, farming techniques, which are related to cultural forms and appearances. Thus, they are also intangible cultural heritages. For instance, at the intertidal zone along the coast of Changhua Fangyuan, in the past, the fishermen waved their hand whip, driving the ox cart to the sea, plowing the fields and carrying them home. These oxen went to the sea to help carry oysters, so they were called “Sea Ox”. Moreover, this “Sea Ox Farming Field” has had a long history of more than 100 years. It is difficult to find such a “farming method” throughout the world, so the human landscape constructed by the ox cart and the farmer become a precious fishing village cultural asset. This method also attracted interviews and reports from domestic and foreign media such as the British National Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and transforms into a new highlight for cultural tourism. In June 2016, the “Fangyuan intertidal zone with ox cart oyster harvesting culture” in the “Sea OX Farming Field”, passed through the review of the Changhua County Government Review Committee, and becomed an officially registered national intangible cultural heritage.

What’s more, in the Wanli, Jinshan and Shimen areas on the north coast of Taiwan, a tradition of the sulfuric fire fishing or lighting fishing method is preserved, which lasted from the era of the Japanese occupation. The sulfuric fire fishing works by adding water to ore and creating an explosion after lighting it up. While the sea surface is burning, the fishermen disturb the fish and trap those phototaxis Squid. While waiting for the fish to jump up, other crew members will pick up the fork net and dredge up the fish. This kind of fishing method requires skills, experience and teamwork to carry out every step through ignition, guidance, and fishnet collection. Unfortunately, this kind of fishing technique with low energy consumption, low pollution and less stress on the marine environment and ecological environment, has gradually been replaced by modern advanced fisheries. Until recently, this unique and special traditional fishing method has been paid attention due to news reports, and becomes a hot spot in cultural tourism. In September 2015, “Jinshan sulfuric fire fishing” passed the review of the New Taipei City Cultural Review Committee and was officially registered as an intangible cultural asset of the New Taipei City.

Preservation, Utilization and sustainable Development of Ocean Cultural Heritage in Taiwan

Cultural heritage is an accumulative generational cultural tradition created by the human community and its living environment, natural interaction and historical conditions for living. Therefore, it is necessary to preserve the value and context of cultural assets through detailed investigation and research, basic data filing, and regular tracking of records. The purpose of preservation and conservation of cultural heritage is not only to care for places with cultural values, such as their structures, materials and cultural significance but also to educate the present and future generations about past things and the culture of ancestors to make them understand the context of cultural identity. Moreover, the cultural heritage is retained as substantial evidence to prove the continuity between the past, the present and the future (Fu, 2009). Therefore, logging in and setting up various types of landscape or seascape reserves are necessary. However, managing these reserves is not focused on nature conservation itself, but on guiding human processes so that the region and its resources can be properly protected and effectively managed. Furthermore, make it possible to develop environmental and cultural values that interact directly with humans in a sustainable manner (Liu, 2008; Phillips, 2002) Therefore, the central governing authority should continue to cooperate with local governments to jointly preserve and maintain nationwide cultural assets. However, due to the failure to join the UN organization, it is impossible for those assets to apply for and log in the list of the World Heritage of UNESCO. In order to promote the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage, the Council for Cultural Affairs, Executive Yuan began to select 12 potential world heritage sites in Taiwan in 2002 based on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Assessment Guidelines and added 5 potential sites in 2009. By the end of 2010, the number of potential world heritage sites in Taiwan have been adjusted to 18, including six sites related to marine cultural assets: “Kinmen Battlefield Culture”, “Matsu Battlefield Culture”, “Fort San Domingo and Surrounding Historical Buildings, Tamsui”, “Penghu Columnar Basalt Nature Reserve”, “Penghu Stone Fish Weirs” and “Orchid Island and The Tao (Yami) tribe”.

Since cultural assets are the activities and traces left by human beings in the living space for the sake of survival, they are provided with not only the identity and the sense of belonging of the group but also the value of inheritance and innovation. Therefore, its universality deserves attention and preservation. Moreover, the notion of regard culture as a heritage or hereditary property is gradually formed, as Ashworth (1997) puts it: “‘cultural heritage’ focuses on the contemporary significance of historical inheritance, and the interpretation and practice of ‘cultural heritage’ differs in different periods, which suggests that the decision made according to contemporary values will affect the generation of ‘cultural heritage.’” “Cultural heritage” is now regarded as a medium for “adapting ancient forms for present-day use” and has even become a product that can be consumed. The concept of “heritage industry” and cultural industry that gradually emerged in the 1980s in Western Europe is adapting the “past” for current use and even making it a “commodity” (Cai, 2014) The flourishing development of the cultural industry is due to two main reasons. One is pressure, including some of monopolistic capitalism and some of the local culture loss led by homogeneity and standardization of globalization, which makes the localists emphasize on local cultural protection, re-pursue the local identity, and value the local Uniqueness (Adorno and Horkhemier, 1979) The other reason is that due to the re-organization by the government around the world, the concept of enterprise management has changed the spirit of cultural and artistic policies from the original “subsidy” to “investment” and promoted economic resurgence and urban renaissance (McGuigan, 2001; Liu, 2004). Especially in recent years, due to the rapid development of the globalization and the population of cultural tourism, the cultural heritage or cultural industry related to local tradition, festival and production activities is gradually favored. This kind of activity that emphasizes the regional life and the spiritual connotation of the value not only protects the local production but also highlights the charm of cultural output value and attracts tourists to “come to a place on account of its reputation.”

Therefore, many countries have turned cultural heritage into cultural industries and combined it with cultural tourism as an important part of resurging the local economic development. For instance, cultural assets combined with tourism marketing have brought about economic benefits and created symbolic values and brands to most European cities. Harvey (1990) clearly pointed out that the inheritance of historical artifacts and the reuse of historical sites are an economic force, that is, one of the fastest growing industries and wealth resources. Therefore, the development of the cultural industry is not only the reproduction of cultural products but also a new strategy for local wealth creation, which directly or indirectly affects the development of the region. Thus, in addition to the preservation of cultural heritage, thinking about how to activate and reuse can promote its sustainable development. When a monument or historical building is refurbished, if it is a temple or a building still in use, it can usually be used as it is. If it is originally abandoned or is going to be repurposed, it should be planned for reuse. Usually, before the restoration, the future purposes should be taken into consideration during the planning. Reuse is the most important purpose of restoration, only when these historical sites are endowed with new values can it be a meaningful restoration. Therefore, many “cultural and creative parks” in Taiwan, such as Taipei’s Songshan and Huashan Cultural and Creative Parks, are constructions that are of outdated industries, or those that have stopped production or operation. The government has designated these sites as historical sites to activate and reuse. By repackaging them with the concept of “new wine in old bottle”, it provides opportunities for the local people to experience cultural and creative consumption, participate in various exhibition activities and promote cultural aesthetic education. This also provides a platform for research and development and cooperation in cultural and creative industry. Therefore, the primary task of the preservation and promotion of Taiwan’s marine heritage is to thoroughly understand, investigate and rediscover the tangible and intangible cultural assets of unique marine features in various regions, and log them into the list of heritage protections. These assets should be preserved, activated or reused according to relevant laws and policies in order to ensure the sustainable development of important marine natural and cultural heritage. This is to avoid regret and for Taiwan to pass down and flourish the marine civilization and create brilliance.

In order to successfully maintain the sustainability of ocean heritage, the specific actions and strategies done by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, can be summarized as follows: First, “Inheritance Education of Ocean Heritage”: to promote and implement the marine education and marine culture connotation together with the Ministry of Education in the education system. In addition to cultivating marine professionals through tertiary institutions and building more detailed and complete capabilities of research and investigation and system, marine knowledge should be coordinated and combined with the education and daily life in primary and secondary schools, museums of marine science and technology, museums of marine biology and aquarium and private marine museums to enhance the public’s understanding of marine culture and become veritable citizens of the maritime country. Second, “Social Participation in Marine Heritage”: Through public participation, diverse equality, public-private partnerships and so on to gather people to explore the content of marine heritage, brainstorm, coordinate and cooperate to formulate marine heritage policies and ensure the preservation is carried out effectively. Third, the “Support System for Ocean Heritage”: Through the transformation of the cultural industry and the promotion of marine tourism, the development of marine heritage has been improved and comprehensively supported. Since the concept proposed in “International Tourism Charter” that cultural tourism can make contribution to the preservation of cultural assets. Countries around the world have adopted strategies to market cultural assets. To preserve the traditional space for reuse and revive the local economy, the local governments in the coastal areas hope to construct local charm, and promote the development of tourism and economic industries by preserving and creating marine cultural heritage. Therefore, while prospecting the future, the government must view valuable marine heritage in a comprehensive way, that is, no longer delimiting the meaning and value of one heritage by a single coastal landscape, historic building or religious activity. The relevant behaviors and environments that human preserved for living should be taken into consideration in a macroscopic and overall way. Managing and preserving the marine heritage in this way can lead to the positive development of comprehensiveness and persistence


Cultural assets include tangible and intangible ones, which embody the “uniqueness”, “authenticity” and “locality” of ethnic groups, regional traditions and aesthetics of life. Being irreplaceable, they are the cornerstones of the current and future development of civil society. As an island surrounded by sea, Taiwan has bred abundant tangible and intangible precious marine heritage due to its geographical location and the process of historical development. Thus, in order to pursue the wonderful diversity of culture, continue to exert local creativity and enhance the well-being of the local residents, thinking about how to investigate and discover, properly preserve, activate and reuse is needed. Since Taiwan has established itself as a maritime nation, with the advent of the “Knowledge Economy” in the 21st century, the government and the NGOs should attach more importance to those assets and add more marine cultural factors. By combining tourism resources and integrating cultural assets and creative culture, the marine culture industry with local features can be created. Moreover, exert the soft power and influence of culture to enhance the charm of tourism in Taiwan can promote the perpetual local prosperity.



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