WWF calls for bottom trawling ban in Hong Kong's territorial waters



Posted on 07 March 2005  | 
Hong Kong, SAR – WWF is calling on the Hong Kong government to institute a total ban on bottom trawling off the island’s territorial waters. 
 
This is one of the recommendations WWF-Hong Kong has submitted to the territory's Health, Welfare and Food Bureau which is currently seeking views on its proposed amendments to the local Fisheries Protection Ordinance. 
  
“The intensive trawling that goes on in Hong Kong causes extensive damage to the sea bed and the habitat that nurtures fish,” said WWF-Hong Kong Chairman Marcus Shaw.

“Designating all territorial waters as a Fisheries Protection Area would result in an outright ban on trawling and prevent our marine habitats from further degradation.” 
 
The destructiveness of inshore trawling is recognized around the world and has already been banned in many Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as in mainland China. 
 
According to WWF-Hong Kong, 12 out Hong Kong's 17 commercially important fish species are over-exploited, and the remainder fully exploited. The average size of fish caught by trawlers is as low as 10g. 
    
“Hong Kong’s current fisheries are a clear case of unsustainability,” Shaw added. “We have one of the lowest biomass of fish per square metre of reef in the world.” 
 
WWF is also urging that all eastern waters be designated “no-take” zones (with designated and managed recreational fishing areas), including all waters east of Poi Toi Islands and Lei Yue Mun, and supports an annual two-month territory-wide “closed season” for fishing. 
 
“Hong Kong’s marine environment and its resources are a public asset,” Shaw said.
 
“The government has a duty to the people of Hong Kong to protect the health and sustainability of Hong Kong’s fisheries and to conserve its marine environment. Without fish, there can be no fishing industry.” 
  
For further information:
Margaret Chan, Communications Manager
WWF-Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2161 9623
E-mail: mchan@wwf.org.hk

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