Press Release



Better equipped to protect the natural habitat


The Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) has recently acquired an amphibious hovercraft to enhance efficiency in managing and protecting the precious wetland of Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay.

This specially designed hovercraft, first of its type in Hong Kong, comes into operation today (Tuesday).

Speaking after the launching ceremony this afternoon, Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mrs Lessie Wei, said: "With this modern hovercraft, we have entered a new era.

"It will greatly facilitate our staff in patrolling and working on the mudflat.

"It will be more effective and much safer."

The 6.6 metres long hovercraft will serve mainly Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site.

AFD staff riding on the hovercraft will undertake essential enforcement and management duties, including:

* To patrol and stop unauthorized entry into Mai Po Marshes and Inner Deep Bay restricted area;

* To stop illegal hunting of wild animals and fishing in the mudflat and mangrove areas;

* To protect wetland animals and clear hunting traps such as bamboo cages, fishing nets and bird nets;

* To protect wetland vegetation from unauthorized cutting; and

* To collect information on wetland wildlife and ecological data for monitoring the Ramsar Site.

Mrs Wei noted that controlling and monitoring of unauthorized activities would be much easier with the new hovercraft.

In the past, Nature Wardens of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department always found it difficult to move around the muddy shore when performing their regular patrolling duties.

At low tides, they used to rely on the conventional and simple mud scooter of which is slow and energy-demanding.

"The new hovercraft will enable a better management and protection of our important wetland at the Ramsar Site," she added.

End/Tuesday, June 29, 1999