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Coastline oversight to be strengthened

Zhao Lei
Updated: Apr 1,2017 7:23 AM     China Daily

The government has pledged to strengthen the management and protection of China’s coastlines, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

The administration has recently published the Coastline Protection and Development Regulation, the first of its kind, and requested authorities in 11 provincial-level regions that have coastlines to strictly execute guidelines in the regulations. The 11 regions include Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces as well as Shanghai and Tianjin municipalities.

The foremost objective of the regulation is to make sure that at least 35 percent of coastlines along the Chinese mainland will remain unexploited by the end of 2020. Currently, about 40 percent of such coastlines are unused, according to statistics from the administration.

Changing the landform and environment of protected coastlines is prohibited unless it is for national security reasons, the regulation says, adding existing development projects on coastlines shall be strictly scrutinized and controlled.

Local governments’ conservation of coastlines will be taken into account when their governance performances are assessed, while officials failing to obey the regulation will be held responsible, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

China has about 18,000 kilometers of coastline. More than half of the country’s exploited coastlines are used by the fishery industry while transportation and urban infrastructure occupy about 20 percent of the coastline, said Guan Daoming, director of the China Marine Environmental Monitoring Center.

Shi Qingfeng, deputy head of the State Oceanic Administration, said coastline management concerns the nation’s ecological security and the well-being of residents in coastal regions. Many sections of China’s coastline have been overdeveloped and polluted, he noted.

Shi said his administration will work with local governments to make annual plans for coastline management and restoration. He added that applicants who want to use coastal areas will face stricter review procedures.

The government will open more well-preserved coastal areas to the public for tourism and leisure, Shi said.

In addition to better protection of coastlines, the government also plans to restore the environment in 85 square kilometers of coastal wetlands and to improve the ecology in 66 bays and 50 islands before the end of 2020, according to Fang Jianmeng, another deputy head of the administration.