World / Newsmakers

Coral coverage declined 80% in South China Sea

By Yan Dongjie ( Updated: 2016-05-24 10:19

According to the Deputy Director of the State Oceanic Administration's ecological environmental protection department, Wang Xiaoqiang, the marine biodiversity and the living environment in the South China Sea have been damaged in various degrees, with some ecosystem degenerating to a sub-health status.

"The coral coverage has declined by an estimated 80 percent, and mangrove coverage 73 percent, compared to the figures in 1970s, which implies that the ecosystem in South China Sea is in a severe situation," said Wang in a marine biodiversity protecting event held by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) on May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity.

In addition to unavoidable natural causes of environment damages, the mass discharge of nitrogen, phosphorus, heavy metal, and oils from the mainland, as well as the overfishing, farming, and other human activities by the sea, has caused the increasing red tides and declining marine biodiversity, according to a research co-conducted by CBCGDF earlier this year.

The report says that around several islands in Crescent Group, the coral coverage is now less than 10 percent, where broken limbs of corals can be seen all around and residents are still selling coral accessories and other souvenirs.

"The South China Sea is China's territory, so we are more concerned than any other country, institution, or individual around the world regarding the ecological environmental preservation of the atolls and sea areas," said Hong Lei, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a TV interview with China Central Television.

CBCGDF started building a database for marine species in the South China Sea, conducting more researches and taking more steps towards protecting the marine biodiversity in the sea area, including building a coral protective base in the next several years.

"It's also important that people get more knowledge about ocean protection, so that the problem can be solved from the root," said Xie Boyang, director of CBCGDF.

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