Snow lines on shorelines: Solving Styrofoam buoy marine debris from oyster culture in Taiwan

Chung Ling Chen, Po Hsiu Kuo, Tuey Chih Lee, Chien Ho Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Styrofoam buoy marine debris from oyster farming presents a tough management issue in Taiwan. It is an environmental externality but its associated environmental costs have long been neglected. In the pursuit of environmental sustainability, efforts by authorities have been made; yet the problem remains. In an attempt to enhance Styrofoam buoy marine debris management, this paper used document analysis, participative workshops and interviews to identify areas of concern regarding current management measures and propose recommendations. The results found that failure to impose buoy recovery, inevitable loss of buoys and unavailability of equally competitive, eco-friendly alternative buoys are major areas of concern. Built on the modes of governance (hierarchical, market and participative), the paper proposed recommendations, including enhancing farmer self-governance units' capacity to manage derelict fishing gear (DFG), strengthening Styrofoam buoy recovery, increasing farmers' awareness of DFG, developing eco-friendly buoys, instituting an ecolabeling program for Styrofoam-free oysters. The recommendations involve participation of farmers, decision makers and consumers and mostly rely on the government's initiation and support. The paper particularly highlighted the political sensitivity of a recommendation regarding phasing out the use of Styrofoam buoys and suggested it serve as a last resort and be practiced depending on fulfillment of circumstantial situations. Finally, the paper advised extra attention be paid on public participation in regulation-making, a mismatch between the scope of the problem and the jurisdiction of a local city and adaptive management, if any change to the status quo occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-355
Number of pages10
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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