WWF Calls For Increase in Marine Protected Areas Seven sites of conservation priority identified in new publication | WWF Hong Kong

WWF Calls For Increase in Marine Protected Areas Seven sites of conservation priority identified in new publication

30 May 2018

[HONG KONG – 30 May 2018] Seven of Hong Kong’s most sensitive marine areas have been identified by WWF-Hong Kong, in conjunction with local academics and experts, for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) network in the territory.

WWF’s proposal for these seven areas, and suggested conservation measures, are outlined in our Sea for Future: Conservation Priority Sites for Hong Kong booklet published today. The seven sites are West Lantau, South Lamma, Shui Hau, Sharp Island and Shelter Island (in Port Shelter), Ninepin Group, Tolo Channel and Harbour, and Pak Nai. The suggested conversation measures include setting up different management zonings, banning non-selective fishing methods, restricting vessel speeds, regulating human activities with statutory code of conducts, and adopting a co-management approach.

“There is an urgent need to conserve our valuable marine habitats and species, to make them more resilient to human disturbance and climate change. This booklet is a solid guide for policymaker to refer to in extending the marine conservation zones to the regain health for marine ecology in Hong Kong,” said Samantha Lee, WWF-Hong Kong’s Assistant Director for Oceans Conservation.

Various local residents, fishermen, environmental protection organizations and other stakeholders were invited to take part in WWF’s consultation from January to May 2018, to share their opinions for marine protection and management. “The concept of co-management and involving local communities is being considered by the government. By giving the stakeholders, such as fishermen, a sense of ownership, they start to see the assets as long-term and plan for the future.” Samantha added.

WWF urges the government to implement a comprehensive framework to respond to the global call of conserving at least 30% of Hong Kong waters as MPAs by 2030 to address human threats and improve marine ecosystems, while bringing socio-economic benefits to local communities. Less than 5% of our waters as MPAs by 2023 is not enough. To raise public awareness of the issue, WWF is hosting the Sea for Future exhibition in June and July with a photo exhibition from landscape photographer Kelvin Yuen. We are also calling on all Hong Kongers to sign a petition for more MPAs. Full details here.