Regco votes for shark nets
By TRACY CHAN
THE Regional Council yesterday decided to press ahead with trials of shark nets at a number of popular beaches.
Twenty-two of the 32 Regional Councillors attending yesterday's monthly meeting voted in support of preventative measures, including the installation of nets.
Although the original motion by Wan Yuet-kau asked for nets and other measures to be implemented at only one beach, it was amended by Fanny Cheung Mui-ching, who said the scheme should be extended to more popular beaches.
Supporting Ms Cheung's amended motion, the councillors maintained that implementing the scheme at only one beach would be inefficient.
Mr Wan said overseas experience was inadequate as a reference for Hongkong because the situation was different here.
He said the consideration of shark nets was based on a Regco study tour two years ago to Australia where beaches were much bigger than those in Hongkong.
Councillor Ting Yin-wah said the design used by the trial scheme would not be based on the Australian version. Instead it would be one which suited Hongkong's circumstances.
Despite government claims that the installation might affect marine life and the cost would be huge, Mr Wan argued that officials should consider improving the design of a shark net in accordance with the unique situation of Hongkong.
A spokesman from a Sai Kung concern group for the safety of swimmers said his group was satisfied with the Regco decision and the group believed the cost involved would be less than $55 million.
The group has consulted fishermen and will later exchange views with Regco on the design of the nets.
The nets aside, councillors hoped that other preventive measures would be adopted to enhance efficiency.
The Reverend Fung Chi-wood said: ''We should not only implement measures to warn people to stay out of the water. I suggest a working committee be set up to study not only the shark prevention net, but also other preventive measures so that swimmers could enjoy the swimming season as soon as possible.'' Mr Fung's view was echoed by other councillors, including So Shiu-shing, Tso Shiu-wai and Yim Tin-sang.
Mr Yim said the trial scheme and the setting up of the committee should run simultaneously to improve efficiency.