Greater Efforts Urged to Develop Marine Industry

China's thriving marine industry has become a powerful force in the economy, said Sunday's "Business Weekly".

The newspaper quoted Chen Qingtai, deputy director of the Development Research Center under the State Council as saying that the output value of the marine industry is expected to make up at least five percent of the country gross domestic product (GDP) this year.

China's marine industry has experienced explosive growth during the last two decades. Its industrial output jumped from 6.4 billion yuan in 1979 to 335 billion yuan in 1998, said Wang Shuguang, Director of the State Oceanographic Administration.

Wang attributed the rapid growth to a clear strategy and reasonable policies adopted by the Chinese government since the early 1980s.

Throughout its thousands of years of history, the Chinese nation has always paid greater attention to its land resources than its marine ones which have virtually been ignored. But it's clearly a serious matter now for China to pay more attention to its vast ocean treasure.

As a major developing country with a long coastline, China, therefore, must exploit the ocean as a long-term development strategy while protecting the marine resources, said Du Bilan, a researcher with the Ocean Development Strategy Research Institute.

China has an 18,000 km mainland coastline. There are more than 5,000 islands in China's territorial waters, each with an area of more than 500 sq. m, and the islands' coastlines total more than 14,000 km. China also exercises sovereignty and jurisdiction over vast continental shelves and exclusive economic zones.

In light of its marine resources, China has adopted a policy of developing and utilizing resources in a comprehensive way. In recent years, China has made constant efforts to upgrade its maritime fishing, transportation, salt-making and other traditional sectors and to develop marine reproduction and mariculture, offshore oil and gas, tourism, marine pharmaceuticals and other burgeoning industries.

A significant breakthrough in China's marine undertakings is the fast-growing offshore oil and gas industry. Crude oil production from China's offshore areas has soared from less than 100,000 tons in 1982 to around 20 million tons of oil equivalent in 1999. China plans to double its offshore oil and gas output to 40 million tons prior to 2005.

(People’s Daily)

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