(ECNS) -- South China's Hainan Province banned the trade and processing of corals and giant clams on Jan. 1 this year, leaving a local town that depended on the industry in hot water.
The ban, aimed at protecting marine resources and stopping illegal fishing, prohibits the purchase and use of corals, giant clams and related products.
Many craft shops in Tanmen town, which was well-known for processing and selling giant clam products, have had to shut down, leaving tens of thousands of people out of work.
Chen Ming, the boss at a craft shop in Tanmen, said he started the business about two years ago, adding that the local government's support of the industry and the good market prospects attracted him. More than 10,000 people in the town depend on the industry, Chen said.
There were about 900 craft shops selling giant clam products and about 150 processing workshops in Tanmen, said Cao Yeke, director of the giant clam association of Hainan province, adding that sales of the products hit 3 billion yuan ($430 million) last year.
About 20,000 local people worked in the industry, not including 10,000 migrant workers. Cao said he has lost about 20 million yuan. Businesspeople were only given 20 days to clear their inventory, Cao said.
Gan Jie, the town chief of Tanmen, said in an interview last December that the local government will promote industry transformation by developing the fishing, specialty travel and hospitality industries.