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Official: Maritime resource laws urgently needed
Latest Updated by 2007-02-02 09:04:20
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With 25 percent of its nearshore waters and nearly 50 percent of its territorial seas polluted, China is fast-tracking new legislation on management and protection of its maritime resources.

According to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) Thursday, the laws and regulations are awaiting approval by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

Input has been collected for a law about islands and the draft will soon go before the NPC, according to the SOA.

China has more than 6,500 islands, covering an area of 80,000 square km and coastline of 14,000 km. Rules governing the exploration, construction and protection of the islands are urgently required, said Sun Zhihui, the SOA director.

"Legislation is critical to safeguarding China's marine resources," he said.

Regulations will target the financial management of maritime areas, fishery management and the thorny issue of sea reclamation and enclosure.

Rapid economic growth in coastal areas in recent years has incited project developers to reclaim land from the sea.

Earlier this month, Jiang Zhenghua, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said reckless reclamation of sea land had harmed aquatic resources and exacerbated sea disasters.

Jiang said land should only be reclaimed from the sea if it meets the state's demands for large energy, transport and industrial projects and major infrastructure constructions.

Reports show that land reclamation projects since the 1960s have destroyed almost 70 percent of the mangrove forests which protect the environment of low coastal areas.

China stiffened laws last year in an attempt to prevent projects in coastal areas from doing further damage to the ocean environment.

The new rules will be an attempt to bring local practice into line with China's stated aim of becoming an environmentally friendly society, as outlined in the country's 11th Five-Year Program (2006-2010).

Editor: Donald

By: Source: China View website
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