Diving in Sai Kung Baseline Conditions Andries Temme Susan Voelkl Content Introduction Baseline conditions – Environment – Economy – Social – Government Stakeholder capabilities and awareness Introduction Statistic – > 20.000 divers in HK (estimation AFCD) – Number of diving agencies – Divers Impact of diving on enviroment – Pick up things under water – Food dumping – Suntan, shampoo, etc – Boats -> pollution – Disturbance of delicate ecosystem – Overland pollution (transport to Sai Kung) Environment Subtropical environment 1 – Water temperatures 30°C - 13C – Wet season March - September – 5 - 6 typhoons / year over past 18 years – Pearl river influence highest in the west, more oceanic to the east SK specifics 2 – Strong riverine influences (pearl river) – High coastal influence (eutrophication, pollution) – Silt Murky water Environment Biodiversity 1 – Quite high – Species from temperate & tropical regions – Seasonal (summer high) – Winter: fish retreat into coral framework Environment Corals – No true coral reefs - fringing communities 1 – Found around northeast & eastern waters – Very important for biodiversity 1,2,3,4 Sai Kung coral specifics – Location map – High coral cover variance – Fairly Unhealty Environment Threats to coral communities 1 – Natural disturbance – Coastal development – Marine and land-based pollution – Disease – Over fishing & Destructive fishing Threats by divers – Disturbance of fish – Sedimentation 4 – Touching/breaking coral 3 Influences species composition 3 Environment Marine protected areas (AFCD) – Created under Marine Parks Ordinance 2001 – Increasing number of studies – 4 Marine parks Hoi Ha Wan, Yan Chau Tong Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau, Tung Ping Chau – 1 Marine reserve Cape d’Aguilar Fishing allowed under licencing system – Only original inhabitants – Using non destructive methods Environment Special “please don’t anchor here” zones in SK – Sharp Island – Ung Kong wan (Bluff Island) Environment Does it work? – Yes, comparative data (Tung Ping Chau) shows increase in fish & coral abundance 1 Data exists only for Tung Ping Chau Researched protection sites – Fan Lau, Soko Island Group, Southern Lamma Island, Kat O Chau, Ngo Mei Chau, Tai Long Wan, Long Ke Wan, Bluff Island and Nine Pine Island – Bluff Island and Long Ke Wan are in the Sai Kung area Environment Planned changes 1 – Initiate fishing license scheme whereby all commercial fishing vessels must be licensed with the government – Create 2 large Fisheries Protection Areas (FPAs) in Port Shelter & Tolo Harbour and Channel in eastern & northeastern waters – Extend fishing ban carried out in waters surrounding Hong Kong in June and July Social Transport – Short Window – Sunday 08:30 – 09:15 – Mainly people come by bus Divers -> HK locals, regular customers – Diving Community Weekly club nights (Marine Divers) Services – 2 recompression chambers in HK Economics HK = no popular tourist destination for waterrelated activities Diving activities more & more popular – SARS impact – many people stayed in HK, discovered parks Big business – 20 to 50pax per boat, every Sunday (besides Dez & Jan) X people work in diving sector X companies with X boats – 36 companies are members of HKUA Economics High season & low season – All year long, low season Dec. – Jan. Costs of Diving trip: 3 dives incl. full equipment and meals: $ 600 Saturated market Money into SK? Almost no benefit (?) – Food – Diving Boats Government No governmental restricions diving in SK Marine parks No Marine parks in SK – 2 “please don’t anchor here” zones Politics – Responsible for marine parks & conservation efforts on coral: AFCD & Marine park police Government Legislation – No legislation concerning SCUBA diving – Some legislation concerning marine wildlife – Some restrictions -> activities in Marine Parks Licenced fishing No anchoring Monitoring by Marine Park Police Government Education – Distribution of flyers to boats in the “please don’t anchor here” zones – Distribution of information to schools – Special stickers for dive boats – Small museum on coral – Trying to raise awareness on marine life Government Government participation in Reefcheck – Only monitoring programme to monitor coral communities outside Marine Protected Areas Recommendations Reefcheck – Better Management of tourist activities. Divers should be monitored, regulated, controlled. – Less than 2% of marine area currently under protection – need for comprehensive plan! Enlargement Stakeholder Awareness and Capacities NGOs / NPOs – HK Marine Conservation Society – WWF – HK Big Fish count – Most of them other focus Government – AFCD Lack of resources – Desire of enlargement marine park areas Stakeholder Awareness and Capacities Diving Agencies – No awareness about Disturbance due to underwater traffic Pollution due to boat traffic Pollution due to overland traffic on Sunday – Desire: Marinepark in SK, no anchoring HKUA - HK Underwater Association SK residents – Marginally involved (?) References 1. Ang Jr., P.O., Choi, L.S., Cornish, A., Fung, H.L., Lee, M.W., Lin, T.P., Ma, W.C., Tam, M.C., Wong, S.Y., 2004. 3.2 Hong Kong. Status of Coral Reefs in East Asian Seas Region, 121- 152. 2. Fabricius, K.E., McCorry, D., 2006. Changes in octocoral communities and benthic cover along a water quality gradient in the reefs of Hong Kong. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52, 22–33. 3. Hawkins, J.P., Roberts, C.M., Van’t Hof, T., De Meyer, K., Tratalos, J., Aldam, C., 1999. Effects of Recreational Scuba Diving on Caribbean Coral and Fish Communities. Conservation Biology 13, 888-897. 4. Zakai, D., Chadwick-Furman, N.E., 2002. Impacts of intensive recreational diving on reef corals at Eilat, northern Red Sea. Biological Conservation 105, 179–187 Thank you for your time!
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