SCMP Monday, July 31, 2000

5-year plan aimed at boosting marine life

Since 1996, the Government has been implementing a $100 million, five-year artificial reefs programme to restore declining commercial fisheries. The first phase of the programme, which is complete, used reefs at three marine parks and an exclusion zone near Chek Lap Kok airport. The second phase, which is now running, will develop reefs outside marine parks.

Artificial reefs use steel and wooden-hulled vessels, and quarry rocks and tyres dumped on the seabed. Micro-marine organisms grow on them, attracting fish to gather and form communities.

The reefs also provide important habitats for young fish and reef fish. To ensure effectiveness, the department plans to ban fishing at reef sites.