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Further Steps to Protect Marine Environment
State Oceanographic Administration Director Wang Shuguang vowed yesterday to step up efforts to protect China's marine environment.

Next year, the administration will produce the country's first national program on marine ecological construction and marine environment protection, and start to publish monitoring results of various aquatic-raising areas, Wang disclosed at a conference reviewing the administration's work in 2002.

The program is based on the country's first special investigation on marine ecological environment, whose seven-month fieldwork has just concluded.

"The investigation results sound a grave warning on the deterioration of our marine environment," said Li Xiaoming, director of the Marine Environment Protection Department of the administration.

"With the program, we expect to arrange a systematic campaign to protect and purposely restore marine ecological systems in certain areas, before irreversible damages occurs."

According to Li, because of excessive fishing, rash marine engineering construction projects, and unchecked pollutants discharged from a range of activities, including oil exploitation, marine ecological systems in many areas have suffered varying degrees of damage.

As for the monitoring of aquatic raising environment, that is one step on from this year's successful practice of red tide monitoring, pinpointing the sea water used especially for aquatic raising.

Red tide, the explosive propagation of algae which might poison or suffocate marine creatures, has been the scourge of Chinese fishermen over the past few years, causing serious economic losses.

Against this backdrop, the administration divided the country's coastal waters into 10 sections and closely watched for red tides by using its 71 monitoring stations.

All of this year's 21 red tides erupting in the monitored regions have been successfully detected and forecast.

As a result, many seaside areas enjoyed enhanced profits from fishing.

For example, East China's Fujian Province, one major fishing area of the country, reduced its economic loss from red tide by 90 million yuan (US$10.9 million) this year.

(China Daily December 31, 2002)

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