The restoration of the coastal environment can help to alleviate declining offshore fishery resources. When artificial fish reefs utilizing steelmaking slag are deployed on the seabed, they can improve algal growth to create habitats for fisheries enhancement. However, the use of slag reefs in the marine environment in Taiwan may draw public concerns about the compatibility of placing steel by-products in the marine environment and food safety issues. It is therefore likely that the further use of slag reefs for marine productivity enhancement (MPE) may encounter resistance and face uncertainty. In this study, controversial issues related to the application of slag reefs to the development of subsequent marine ranching were explored. Qualitative interviews with stakeholders were conducted, and their support or opposition for the application of steelmaking slag to the marine environment were discussed. The results of the interviews were analyzed based on grounded theory to establish conceptual models and clarify stakeholders’ policy opinions on the marine application of slag reefs. The results can inform policy for the further utilization and management of slag reefs, and may help the government to promote the circular economy and achieve its ultimate goal of sustainable ocean development.
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