WWF Launches Hong Kong’s First Marine Biodiversity Map Reveals Fascinating Ocean Treasures | WWF Hong Kong

WWF Launches Hong Kong’s First Marine Biodiversity Map Reveals Fascinating Ocean Treasures

19 September 2012

WWF recently launched Hong Kong’s first Marine Biodiversity Map (wwf.org.hk/marinemap), giving people across the world a chance to explore Hong Kong’s fascinating marine habitats and sea creatures, anywhere, anytime. The first of its kind, the map reveals the extent of Hong Kong’s ocean treasures and rich biodiversity by providing a close-up look at the numerous habitats in local waters, including astonishing corals, a myriad of mangroves and amazing marine creatures like the Chinese white dolphin and the horseshoe crab. The map is designed to promote both knowledge and conservation of Hong Kong’s diverse marine environment through photos and interesting facts.

Samantha Lee, Senior Conservation Officer, Marine at WWF-Hong Kong said, “By showing the map to people of Hong Kong, we are telling everyone that we are not just living in a city, but one surrounded by a living marine aquarium. We have got a rich and diverse marine ecosystem surrounding such a small city, nourishing more than 1,000 species of fish, 84 species of hard corals, two species of horseshoe crabs and other marine mammals. At the same time, the map clearly reveals that most of the marine biodiversity currently has no protection and we strongly need them.”

The map was produced using the best available data from government surveys and research conducted by local experts (please refer to the Appendix for more details); and illustrates species’ locations and population densities using colourful photos and informative content.

“WWF is working hard to promote public awareness of Hong Kong marine biodiversity. This map is a brand-new public engagement tool for us, offering students, ocean lovers and the general public the privilege of exploring Hong Kong’s marine environment 24 hours a day, even if they don’t know how to dive!” Samantha said. She continued, “It is crucial that a larger number of bigger marine parks should be designated to protect our vulnerable marine ecosystem. Many important and sensitive habitats, and the species they support still receive little or no protection under existing regulations.” Since 1996, a total of four marine parks and one marine reserve have been established in Hong Kong: Hoi Ha Wan, Yan Chau Tong, Shau Chau and Lung Kwu Chau, Tung Ping Chau, and Cape D’Aguilar, but no new ones have been established in the last twelve years. Together, these parks and reserves cover less than 2 percent of the total area of Hong Kong waters.

There are 4 main categories on the map, covering twelve marine habitats and species. The interactive version can be viewed at:wwf.org.hk/marinemap. A printable version is also available for download on the website. To celebrate the map’s launch, WWF has initiated a “Love and the Ocean” photo competition co-organized with Baby Kingdom, which will help to further raise public awareness about marine conservation by sharing their love to the ocean . The top ten winners will receive a free glass-bottomed boat trip through Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park, during the visit to WWF Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre, where the winners together with a maximum of two of their friends or family members (aged over 5) can get a close-up view of the local corals and other marine life. The top ten photos will also receive special recognition and be integrated into the online version of “Marine Biodiversity Map”. The competition will end on 3 October and more details can be found at the above link.

Some Interesting figures:

1. Total area of Hong Kong waters: 1650 km2

2. 84 different hard coral species thrive in our waters - even more than in the Caribbean Sea!

3. Every winter, the intertidal mudflat at Deep Bay is a “dining table” for an average of 50,000 wintering waterbirds.

Tam, F.Y. and Wong, Y.S. 2000. Hong Kong Mangroves. The City University of Hong Kong Press, Hong Kong. 148 pp.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website (map 2007) - http://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/con_wet/con_wet_man/con_wet_man_dis/images/mangomap.jpg
Seagrass beds:
Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website (map 2012) -
Hard Coral Communities:
McCorry, D. 2002. Hong Kong Scleractinian Coral Communities: Status, Threats and Proposals for Management. PhD. Thesis. The University of Hong Kong.
Chan A.L.K., Choi C.L.S., McCorry D., Chan K.K., Lee M.W. and Ang P. 2005.
Field Guide to Hard Corals of Hong Kong. 1st Edition (Eds. Chan W.C. and Stokes E.). Friends of the Country Parks and Cosmos Books Ltd, Hong Kong. 373 pp.
Octocorals and Black Corals:
The Chinese University of Hong Kong. 2010. Provision of Services on Reference Collection and Study on Octocorals and Black Corals in Hong Kong Waters. Report submitted to Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
Horseshoe Crabs:
Li. H.Y. 2008. The Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs in Hong Kong. M.Phil. Thesis. The City University of Hong Kong.
Shin, P., Li, H.Y. and Cheung, S.G. 2009. Horseshoe Crabs in Hong Kong: Current Population Status and Human Exploitation. Biology and Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs 2: 347-360
Green Turtle Nesting Site: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website:
Chinese White Dolphins and Finless Porpoises:
Hung, S.K. 2012. Monitoring of Marine Mammals in Hong Kong Waters – Data Collection (2011-12): Final report (1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012). Report submitted to Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
Chen, Y. 2007. The Ecology and Biology of Amphioxus in Hong Kong. PhD. Thesis. The City University of Hong Kong.
White-bellies Sea Eagle Nesting Sites:
While-bellied Sea Eagle Study Group of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society. http://www.hkbws.org.hk/
Hong Kong Biodiversity Database of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department