Legislative Council Panel on Environmental Affairs
CYANIDE FISHING IN ASIA AND THE WESTERN PACIFIC
On 7 February 1996, Members discussed the question of cyanide fishing and were informed that the Administration intended to raise the problem in meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Marine Resources Conservation Working Group and the APEC Fisheries Working Group. This paper informs Members of the outcome of those meetings and what additional action is being taken to counteract the problem locally.
2. The APEC Marine Resources Conservation Working Group met in Kaoshiung from 23 to 25 April 1996. Hong Kong presented the paper at the Annex, inviting member economies to adopt the problem of cyanide fishing in Asia and the Western Pacific as an issue requiring urgent consideration in the working group and to define areas of action and co-operation through which the problem can be addressed.
3. Of the 12 economies attending the meeting, Australia, the PRC, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and the Unites States supported Hong Kongs proposal. It was agreed that the issue should be taken up by both the Marine Resources Conservation Working Group, as it affects coral reef ecology, and the Fisheries Working Group and that the PRC, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei should develop a project proposal.
4. The scope of the project has yet to be fully defined, but it will probably take the form of a technical workshop to address the environmental impacts of cyanide fishing in coral reef areas. A proposal will be drawn up by the three economies for consideration at the next meeting of the Marine Resources Conservation Working Group in Thailand in September 1996.
5. The APEC Fisheries Working Group met in Santiago, Chile, from 28 May to 2 June. Hong Kong raised the cyanide fishing issue. The meeting agreed that the fisheries impact of cyanide fishing is important and should be urgently addressed. It also agreed that, in addressing this matter, the producing and exporting economies should be actively involved and that a technical workshop should be convened by the United States in mid-1997 in conjunction with the next Fisheries Working Group meeting, to address the fisheries resource and fisheries trade issues related to cyanide fishing.
6. The following action is being taken locally to address the cyanide fishing problem -
we are reviewing the Fisheries Protection Ordinance with a view to increasing the maximum fine for possession and use of toxic substances to capture fish from $10,000 to $200,000
we are compiling a list of local vessels engaged in capturing live fish in the Philippines and Indonesia and foreign vessels transporting live fish to Hong Kong to assist the Marine Police to step up enforcement of the laws against carriage of cyanide on vessels
in the interests of public health, we are collecting, at points of entry, samples of fish susceptible to cyanide fishing for cyanide testing
we are compiling, from government and trade sources, data on live fish imports and working on improving the classification system for fish imports
we are holding seminars for and sending information to fisherman and live fish traders, reminding them of the need for marine conservation and the damage caused by cyanide fishing.
Economic Services Branch &
Agriculture and Fisheries Department
Last Updated on 18 Aug, 1998