Date
12 December 2017
Pui O beach on Lantau Island. The South Lantau Marine Park will merge two originally planned marine parks on Soko Islands and Shek Kwu Chau. Photo: Information Services Department
Pui O beach on Lantau Island. The South Lantau Marine Park will merge two originally planned marine parks on Soko Islands and Shek Kwu Chau. Photo: Information Services Department

Govt plans Hong Kong’s largest marine park

The government has proposed to create a marine park covering more than 2,000 hectares in the open waters off Lantau Island, making it the largest of its kind in Hong Kong.

The Country and Marine Parks Board is scheduled to hold a meeting on Friday to discuss the proposal, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The South Lantau Marine Park will merge two originally planned marine parks on Soko Islands and Shek Kwu Chau.

The merged marine park will be nearly 80 percent larger than the Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park in Tuen Mun, currently the largest at 1,200 hectares.

The authorities will gazette the plan by 2019.

In 2000, the government proposed to set up the Soko Islands Marine Park where rare Chinese white dolphins, the mascot assigned to mark Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, and finless porpoises are most often spotted. It covers an area of 1,270 hectares.

The proposed 797-hectare marine park between Soko Islands and Shek Kwu Chau is intended to compensate for the integrated waste management facilities set to be built on Shek Kwu Chau.

It is understood that the decision to merge the two was made after the government conducted public consultations.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Environmental Protection Department said setting up a mega marine park will help enhance the fishing industry, as well as facilitate maintenance, law enforcement and patrols in the area.

The AFCD said the proposed South Lantau Marine Park will be managed according to the Marine Parks Ordinance and the Marine Parks and Marine Reserves Regulation for the purpose of preservation, leisure, education and scientific research.

On-boat dolphin watching activities at cruising speeds no more than 10 nautical miles an hour will be allowed.

Meanwhile, an artificial reef area will be zoned, and the marine park will be stocked with fish fry or fingerlings.

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