Published: Friday 15 November 1996

In a bid to salvage its depleting shores, Hong Kong recently earmarked its first marine parks and marine reserve. On September 30, three coastal areas were placed under protection: a 20 ha marine reserve encompassing Lobster Bay at Cape D' Aguilar, a 260 ha marine park covering the whole of Hoi Ha Wan, and two-thirds of the Yan Chau Tong waterway making up a 680 ha marine park. Another marine park is expected to open soon near Sha Chau, where the dolphin population is under threat.

The agriculture and fisheries department is seeking funds to meet the international standard of bringing 20 per cent of coastal waters under protection by the year 2000. Commercial fishing poses a major obstacle in the efforts aimed at marine conservation. According to Joanna Ruxton, a senior conservation officer of the World Wide Fund for Nature, even the gill-nets used by local fisherfolk cause extensive damage.

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