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Marine sector reports growth of 15% in 2007
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China's seas contributed 2.49 trillion yuan (347 billion US dollars), or ten percent, of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) last year, according to a report on China's marine economy in 2007.


The report, issued by the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), said the value of marine industries, including fishing, transport, oil and gas, tourism and shipbuilding, grew 15 percent year on year, more than the economy as a whole, according to the China Daily on Sunday.


The main pillars of the rapid growth were the traditional industries of transport, tourism and fishing, which accounted for more than 80 percent of total output value, said SOA spokesman Li Haiqing.


Emerging industries, for example, the oceanic biological pharmaceutical industry, which generated more than four billion yuan last year, up more than 37 percent, also grew swiftly, according to the report.


Offshore wind power generation also saw breakthroughs last year. With the launch in November of the first offshore wind power station, funded and run by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, the sector generated 500 million yuan, up 17 percent year on year.


The marine industry employed 31.5 million people last year, 1.9million more than in 2006, the report said.


The gross production value in the Bohai Bay Rim Area was more than 954 billion yuan, accounting for 38 percent of total output of the marine sector. Similarly, the gross production of the Yangtze River Delta region amounted to about 775 billion yuan, or about 31 percent of the total output.


However, Xu Linzhi, an official from the environmental protection department of the SOA, said the swift development of the maritime economy in the Bohai Bay Rim Area had been achieved at the cost of the environment.


"We must ensure growth is environmentally sound," he was quoted as saying by China Daily.


(Xinhua News Ageny February 17, 2008)

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