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Best time in history for marine industries
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-01 06:05

Marine industries of the Chinese mainland have stepped into the "best period in its history," reaching 1.284 trillion yuan (US$155 billion) value in output last year, officials with the State Oceanic Administration said yesterday in Beijing.

Guangdong Province, Shanghai Municipality, Zhejiang, Shandong and Fujian provinces are regarded as the top five regional marine economies in the country, each with an output value of more than 100 billion yuan (US$12 billion), according to Li Chunxian, the administration's spokesman.

The output of the offshore oil and gas industry amounted to 59.5 billion yuan (US$7.2 billion) last year, accounting for 4.6 per cent of the gross output of major marine industries.

The figures are disclosed in the "Bulletin of the China Marine Economic Statistics for 2004," which was released by the administration yesterday.

"Offshore oil is expected to be the major source of crude oil increment in the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10)," said He Guangshun, deputy director of the administration's National Marine Data and Information Service.

The output of offshore oil reached 28.43 million tons, up 16.6 per cent from the previous year. South China's Guangdong has taken a leading role in the nation's offshore oil and gas industry, occupying 49.6 per cent of the share.

The report showed that in 2004, China's overall marine economy was at the middle to upper level among the earth's coastal nations.

"And some of the marine industries hold a pivotal position in the world," said the spokesman Li.

The gross output of sea salt in China still ranks first in the world; the handling capacity of the major coastal harbours in the whole year continues to be the global number one; and the national marine ship building industry grows rapidly, holding steady the third place in the world.

However, Li said, concerning Chinese population, the amount of the marine economy is still small and there is still a great gap compared to developed countries in terms of economic and technological content.

Li said the rapid development of China's marine economy has also promoted labour and employment in coastal regions.

According to a survey on China's ocean-related employment in 21st century, one-tenth of the employees in the country's coastal regions are engaged in ocean-related trades involving 21.076 million people.

Another highlight of the report showed that a marine regional economy has been established and continues to develop rapidly.

Both the Yangtze River Delta economic zone and the Bohai Sea economic rim have exceeded 400 billion yuan (US$48.4 billion) in the gross output value of major marine industries.

Li said the outlook for the marine economy in 2005 is optimistic.

The statistical data does not include the data from the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

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