(ECNS) - South China’s Huizhou City has refuted speculations regarding land reclamation from the sea following an amendment to plans for a nature reserve designated to protect aquatic resources in southern Daya Bay.
A staff member from the city’s Bureau of Ocean and Fisheries Resources and Environmental Management said the current reserve established 35 years ago is unable to meet demands and that the amendment was proposed after sufficient scientific investigations by experts.
Shenzhen and Huizhou are jointly applying to redraw reserve borders with Guangdong provincial authorities.
Daya, the largest semi-enclosed bay in Guangdong, is home to various rare aquatic species and an important aquatic breeding base. With over 100 islands of various sizes, the reserve covers an area of 133.66 square kilometers in Shenzhen, and 806.84 square kilometers in neighboring Huizhou.
However, like most nature reserves established earlier in China, inhabited islands, densely populated areas and marine industry development zones were also included in such protected regions from the start, a practice that can lead to conflicts amid economic growth.
Adjustments, which involve 68.38 square kilometers, will help resolve historical problems facing the Daya Bay conservation area and achieve coordinated development alongside ecological protection, said authorities.
Shanghai-based The Paper reported that while adjustments increase the total area of the nature reserve, it looks more fragmented than before.
An environmental protection organization CECA also said the change seems to exclude a previously protected area for port construction and urbanization plans. The sea turtle conservation area in Huidong County of Huizhou City is China’s only near-sea turtle nesting site, but the planned port and buildings along the coast will inevitably affect the animal’s habitat, according to CECA.