China approves marine zoning plans for coastal regions

The government has approved local maritime zoning plans submitted by the city of Shanghai and the southern provinces of Guangdong and Hainan, respectively, for the 2011-2020 period, the State Council said Tuesday.

The State Council, or China’s cabinet, issued a document instructing local governments in the three regions to control reclamation projects, protect fishermen’s livelihoods and the development of modern fishery, curb oceanic pollution and make efforts to improve the marine environment.

The zoning plans should be followed when formulating relevant industry plans and should not be arbitrarily altered, the State Council said.

According to the document, the total size of sea reclamation areas in Shanghai should not exceed 2,300 hectares by 2020. Reclamation areas should be no larger than 23,000 hectares in Guangdong and 11,150 hectares in Hainan, the document said.

It also stipulated minimum requirements for marine agriculture, conservation and reserved areas in the three regions, as well as the length of repaired coastlines.

Plans for reclamation and other development projects should be strictly scrutinized and local governments’ incomes from sea utilization should be used to restore and protect the marine environment, the document said.

The document also instructs relevant authorities to strengthen law enforcement and supervision over the sea to ensure orderly development.

It also urges supervision from the oceanic administrative agency, as well as the public and media, over relevant activities.

Xinhua