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Southwest Lantau Marine Park and Soko Islands Marine Park

     The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) today (September 1) announced a plan for the designation of Southwest Lantau Marine Park and Soko Islands Marine Park.

     An AFCD spokesman said, "The Government re-affirms its commitment to the designation of the two marine parks. Building on earlier preparatory work including discussions with various stakeholders, we will launch another round of public engagement in 2015 and take other necessary steps and seek to complete the statutory procedure for the designation by early 2017."

     In response to public concern about protection for Chinese white dolphins, the Government aims to proceed with the designation plan expeditiously in order to enhance and support the Chinese White Dolphin Conservation Programme administered by the AFCD. The overall long-term goal of the programme is to enable the Chinese white dolphins to continue to use Hong Kong waters as part of their population range and to enhance the continued survival of this dolphin population inhabiting the Pearl River Estuary.

     The proposed marine parks at Southwest Lantau and Soko Islands cover about 660 hectares and 1 270 hectares of waters respectively. These waters are among the major habitats of Chinese white dolphins and finless porpoises. Designating the waters as marine parks is conducive to the long-term conservation of the local marine environment.

     Since 2000, the Government has been implementing a conservation programme for Chinese white dolphins in Hong Kong through a four-pronged approach including management, public education, research and cross-boundary co-operation.

     As regards the Southwest Lantau Marine Park and Soko Islands Marine Park, the AFCD has been conducting patrols and dolphin surveys in these waters to collect information for the designation of the proposed marine parks in parallel to consulting the interested groups including fishermen and the local community.

     The AFCD will consult the Country and Marine Parks Board on the draft maps at a suitable time before they are gazetted for public inspection in accordance with the statutory process under the Marine Parks Ordinance.

Ends/Monday, September 1, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:00


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