NPC Deputies Urge to Step up Development of Marine Resources

The conditions are ripe for developing marine resources in full scale in the eastern part of the country along side the western China development drive, a group of deputies to China's top legislature said over the weekend.

The deputies have jointly put forward a proposal to the current annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), demanding the mapping out of an overall national marine economic development plan at an earliest possible date.

"In the 21st century, those who succeed in tackling the difficult problems in marine development will be the biggest beneficiaries," said Du Bilan, a research fellow of the National Bureau of Oceanography.

China has a coastline of 18,000 kilometers and more than 6,500 islands with 14,000 kilometers of coastline.

According to Du, who has long been engaged in R&D of marine resources, the total output value of China's marine industry topped 1.7 trillion yuan (205 billion U.S. dollars) in the Ninth Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000), growing at an average annual rate of nearly eight percent. The marine economy has become a new engine of growth of the national economy, she said.

Wang Xiaofeng, provincial governor of Hainan, said the marine industry has been made a pillar industry in this southernmost province.

With the development of offshore natural gas, Hainan pumps some two billion cubic meters of gas to Hong Kong each year. In the next five years, the province will invest 53 billion yuan (6.4 billion U.S. dollars) in a number of other gas projects, in addition to developing its rich fisheries and tourism, the governor said.

In Shandong Province, east China, people are working to grow vegetables with sea water and develop medicines based on marine resources, according to Tang Houyun, an NPC deputy from Weihai City of the coastal province.

The deputies also stressed some other problems demanding prompt solution, such as excessive, disorderly and free development of marine resources and serious pollution in offshore waters.

The situation calls for an early mapping out of a comprehensive national development plan, they said in their proposal to the NPC.

(People’s Daily 03/12/2001)