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Long-term blueprint for coastal areas

By Liu Sha (Global Times)

08:12, October 17, 2012

A sweeping plan to develop and protect China's marine resources until 2020 was approved by the State Council Tuesday following recommendations from eight coastal regions.

The plan includes goals for land reclamation, aquaculture, marine conservation and repair of damaged coastlines.

Seven provinces, one municipality and one autonomous region contributed to the plan.

The plan also aims to set quality standards for sea water and fully establish a pollution discharge system by 2020.

"It's the first time the central government has issued such a clear plan," said Gao Shu, director of the School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences at Nanjing University. "The use of marine resources has been quite chaotic."

"Many problems including excessive land reclamation and severe damage to the ecology are ruining the habitat of many endangered marine animals. This has caused the fishing industry to contract," Gao added.

Liu Feng, researcher from the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times that the plan would help ensure the efficiency of marine resource exploitation and the development of the marine economy.

"Without a high-level plan, those resources are in danger, as many are craving to exploit them," said Liu, adding that a clear plan will enable the country's marine industries to grow.

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