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Licensing to Help Protect Marine Resources
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China plans to introduce a wider licensing scheme for all users of sea resources, according to an official with the State Oceanographic Bureau.

The system, which stipulates that all individuals and organizations, whether Chinese or foreign, must apply for licenses to use resources from the sea, is to be seriously implemented in the next one to two years. Licences will be extended to cover at least 80 percent of sea-related activities in most regions of the country, which has an 18,000-kilometre-long coastline, said Wang Zhong, vice-director of the Sea Use Management Section of the bureau.

Wang said that 15,000-odd licenses have been issued so far, covering a sea area of about 2.5 million hectares.

However, the current licenses only cover about 20 percent of marine activities in the country. Local branches of the bureau have been urged to complete a survey on the use of sea resources in their areas before next July, according to Wang.

To stop the drain of the country's marine resources, the bureau and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued a regulation on sea use in 1993, which required licences for the first time.

To strengthen the regulation, the bureau is preparing a draft law which is expected to be submitted for discussion to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress next year.

It is hoped the law will stop the excessive and uncontrolled use of sea resources and will play an important role in protecting them, according to Ruan Chunlin, a leading legal expert with the bureau.

The country's marine industries have developed very quickly in recent years.

The output value of China's major marine industries has more than doubled every 10 years since 1949.

Last year's statistics indicate that China collected 365 billion yuan (US$44 billion) from its major marine industries, 7.8 percent more than the previous year.

(China Daily 11/29/2000)

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