China must strengthen its marine development and work harder
at its high-tech marine economy. Oceanographic engineering technology
should be the backbone of the development of the economy.
These were the remarks made by Song Jian, vice-chairman of the
National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference, and president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering,
at the Marine Technology Industrialization Forum, which opened
in Rongcheng, a coastal city in East China's Shandong Province,
The three-day forum is sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Engineering
and the Shandong provincial government. More than 150 oceanologists
participated in the forum, themed around developing marine-related
high-tech companies and their development. Twelve of the most
famous marine scientists attended the discussions.
Song said the 21st century faces three major problems: a rapidly
increasing population, a shortage of resources and a deteriorating
environment, and should look to the sea for solutions.
China's marine economy has made annual increases of 20 per cent
since 1990. High-tech marine companies have been embracing growth.
To date a "blue industry group" has been formed, which
includes commercial fishing, marine petroleum, marine chemistry
and marine-based pharmaceuticals.
In 1999 the value of the country's sea industries reached 380
billion yuan (US$46 billion). Commercial fishing has reached
24.7 million tons, one-fourth of the world's output, valued
at 180 billion yuan (US$21.7 billion).
Song said the industry's rapid increase can be attributed to
technological breakthroughs in the breeding of marine life,
making China the largest producer of kelp, prawns, abalone and
scallops in the world.
China has listed the development of marine industries as one
of its top priorities for the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000).
It has spent 360 million yuan (US$43.5 million) on the industry,
mainly in marine prospecting, marine biology and the exploration
and development of marine resources.
The country will invest more in the field during the 10th Five-Year
Song said China's fishery industry is still very weak, compared
with other countries. So it will have to further support the
field and set up an information service system to help spread
He also stressed that the country must make efforts in deep-sea
China is a big maritime state, and its coast spreads along 18,000
kilometers. It has more than 5,000 islands dominating 3 million
square kilometers of sea area.
It also housed more than 20,000 different species of sea creature.
The continental shelf contains more than 15 billion tons of
petroleum reserves and is rich in other mineral resources.
(China Daily 09/18/2000)