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Sea Areas Classified by Function
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The State Oceanographic Administration announced yesterday the country's first program to classify sea areas by function, and said that those who ignore these function divisions will be punished.

Based on geographical location, natural resources and natural environmental conditions, the program will direct the development of Chinese sea areas according to 10 specified purposes.

They are:

  • Areas for development of harbors and communications;

  • Fishery resources utilization, cultivation and protection;

  • Mineral resources;

  • Tourism;

  • Sea water utilization;

  • Energy;

  • Marine engineering;

  • Bio-protection;

  • Special disposal;

  • Special reserves.

    Each designated area has special requirements for water quality and approved human activities.

    For example, the extraction of sea sand is not allowed in the fishery resource protection area, while no sewage should be discharged directly into areas for tourism.

    "We shall see to it that each area is developed according to the designated program, and will stop all activities not supposed to be carried on in each of the designated areas," said Wang Fei, a leading official with the administration, adding that the program is expected to be in place by 2005.

    Wang said the program will help improve the country's sea area management by defining clearly, for the first time, the authority over particular sea areas.

    Various governmental departments, such as those in charge of communications, water resources, tourism and oceanographic administration, have been vying with each other for authority over different sea areas since the late 1980s, when marine development started to take off.

    As a result, some sea areas are largely untouched while others are being over-exploited, causing seriously pollution and marine resource depletion.

    The program will clearly help promote improvement of China's marine environment, said Wang.

    He also disclosed that the administration is establishing an overall monitoring system that will closely watch the implementation of the program.

    "If the development is not in line with the program, the sea area use rights of responsible parties will be revoked," said Wang.

    (China Daily September 11, 2002)

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