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Pak Nai

© WWF-Hong Kong

Conservation Significance

Pak Nai supports one of the city's largest intertidal mudflats and mangrove stands, providing habitats and food for wildlife including the globally endangered black-faced spoonbill. Part of the nearshore area is zoned as a Coastal Protection Area. Pak Nai is one of the few remaining habitats in Hong Kong that supports relatively high densities of Asian horseshoe crabs and mangrove horseshoe crabs. Pak Nai supports the largest area of seagrass bed in Hong Kong, which is an ecologically significant food source for juvenile horseshoe crabs in summer and winter and provides shelter
and feeding grounds for a variety of intertidal animals.

Threats

Pak Nai has recently been under pressure from a developer’s attempts to apply for rezoning involving low density villas, club houses and recreational facilities.
The developer eventually withdrew all applications due to objections from the public and green groups. Oyster
farming is practiced along the intertidal mudflat with over 1,000 rafts operating in the area. The dumping of oyster shells affects the current, sedimentation and alkalinity of the sea water and can negatively affect horseshoe crab density and foraging behaviour. The mudflats in Pak Nai are highly susceptible to human disturbance from recreational activities such as unregulated clam digging.

Suggested Conservation Measures

● Designate Pak Nai as a marine park with different conservation management zoning.
●  Designate the outer fringe of mangroves as a horseshoe crab conservation zone. Other potential measures to protect horseshoe crabs include seasonal closure of part of the bay during breeding season and a no take zone.
●  Regulate or restrict clam digging activities (e.g. license/quota) and implement a code of conduct, to protect the high density of early-stage juveniles. Further study will provide guidelines for these measures.
●  Provide public facilities and management (e.g. on mudflats and educational signs) to attract visitors without causing excessive disturbance to the environment.
●  Work with academics, fishermen, local community, village leaders and NGOs to adopt a co-management approach.

© WWF-Hong Kong