In battling habitat destruction, China’s ocean police bare teeth

Published on
September 21, 2017

In a sign of the difficulties facing Chinese sea-based aquaculture, authorities in southerly Fujian Province have closed down a quarrying and construction company which had been destroying large tracts of an important coastal system of mudflats traditionally home to aquaculture facilities and wild fisheries.

The China National Ocean Supervisory Bureau, a hitherto low-profile state body, led a multi-agency crackdown on builders destroying parts of the Anhai Gulf near Dongshi port in Fujian Province in recent days. 

Photos printed by local state-owned media showed earth movers, watched by police, tearing down illegal buildings and gravel-grading facilities.  The illegal house building and quarrying had “impacted on water flow” in the gulf and destroyed habitats, according to the bureau.

It’s not clear how the rogue developers were able to get away so long with their building and gravel extraction on the coastal zone. However, a multiplicity of agencies and competing competencies and jurisdictions often hinders enforcement of national laws in China at the local level. 

Other agencies involved in the much-reported swoop included the Ocean and Fisheries Bureau, the local police force, the EP department, as well as the local offices of the departments of land, transport, and water conservation.

The China National Ocean Supervisory Bureau has promised increased patrols of the area to prevent a recurrence. China’s aquaculture producers have long complained about tighter access to land due to competition from construction companies and industry – as well as tighter environmental policing of water-quality rules.

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