Department looking for suitable marine park site
I refer to the letter headlined, 'Government must help save lovely dolphins' (South China Morning Post, July 31), by Lincoln Chan, regarding the conservation of the Chinese white dolphin.
It is always our intention to designate more marine protected areas in Hong Kong. In fact, a feasibility study on a potential marine park/reserve is underway. Preliminary findings of the feasibility study indicate that the Southwest Lantau area is used by both Chinese white dolphins and finless porpoises.
Upon completion of this study, the Agriculture and Fisheries Department will consider the way forward with a view to designating Southwest Lantau as a marine park or reserve for the benefit of the dolphins.
This department has also commissioned a consultancy study on the fisheries resources and fishing operations in Hong Kong.
The study was completed in 1998 and provides useful information on the status of fish stocks and the existing fisheries utilisation for developing a proper management tool and strategy to protect and sustain the fisheries resources. Public consultation on the proposed strategy is in progress.
Furthermore, artificial reefs have been deployed in marine parks and other sites in Hong Kong waters to rehabilitate marine habitats and to enhance the fisheries resources.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Ordinance came into effect in 1998.
Whenever a designated project is proposed in or adjacent to important dolphin areas, an EIA must be conducted, with special reference to dolphins.
The process is aimed at avoiding or minimising the potential impact of development on the dolphins. Appropriate mitigation measures are specified and implemented to protect the dolphins as necessary.
DICK CHOI for Director of Agriculture and Fisheries