LC Paper No. CB(1) 222/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref: CB1/PL/ES/1

Legislative Council
Panel on Economic Services

Minutes of meeting held on
Tuesday, 21 July 1998, at 3:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP (Chairman)
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon HUI Cheung-ching
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Bernard CHAN
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

Members attending :

Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP

Members absent :

Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP

Public officers attending :

Mr Stephen IP
Secretary for Economic Services

For Item III

Mr Arthur HO
Acting Deputy Secretary for Economic Services

Mr Howard LEE
Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services(New Airport)

Secretary for Works

Mr Richard Siegel
Director of Civil Aviation

Mr Simon LI
Chief Planning Officer, Civil Aviation Department

Director, New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office

Mr Ian Wingfield
Law Officer (Civil Law)

Miss Elizabeth WU
Senior Assistant Law Officer (Civil Law)

For Item IV

Deputy Secretary for Economic Services

Miss Dora FU
Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services

Mrs Lessie WEI
Director of Agriculture and Fisheries

Assistant Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (Fisheries)

Mr Joseph SHAM
Senior Fisheries Officer
Agriculture and Fisheries Department

Attendance by invitation :

Airport Authority

Dr Henry Townsend
Chief Executive Officer

Mr Chern Heed
Airport Management Director

Mr Clinton Leeks
Corporate Development Director

Mr Douglas Oakervee
Project Director

General Manager - Terminal Operations

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (HACTL)

Mr A C Charter
Managing Director

Clerk in attendance :

Ms Estella CHAN
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)4

Staff in attendance :

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Mr LEE Yu-sung
Senior Assistant Legal Adviser

Miss Anita HO
Assistant Legal Adviser 2

Mr KAU Kin-wah
Assistant Legal Adviser 6

Mr Daniel HUI
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)5

I Information papers issued since last meeting
(LC Paper No. CB(1)39/98-99 - An article on the new airport's computerisation project

LC Paper No. CB(1)47/98-99 - Import and retail prices of major fuels from June 1996 to May 1998)

Members noted the information papers issued since last meeting.

II Items for discussion at the next meeting scheduled for 28 September 1998

2 Members agreed to discuss the following items at the next meeting scheduled for 28 September 1998 :

  1. Implementation of the Electricity (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 and Electrical Products (Safety) Regulation;

  2. Administration of low-interest loans to operators in the poultry trade; and

  3. Compensation for fisherman affected by reclamation or development projects.

III Operation of the Hong Kong International Airport

(Note : A verbatim transcription of the discussion under this agenda item is at Annex A.)

IV Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Bill 1998 and Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Regulation 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(1)43/98-99(01))

3 Invited by the Chairman, the Assistant Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (AD/A and F) briefed members on the background and objective of the Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Bill 1998 and the Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Regulation 1998. He said that the use of explosives in fishing had a devastating effect on the marine environment and a long-term detrimental impact on fisheries resources. However, the amount of explosives confiscated by the Hong Kong Police Force as substances used for fishing had increased significantly over the past five years, which was indicative of the growing problem of use of explosives in fishing. The Administration considered that the maximum fine of $10,000 for fishing with explosives under the existing legislation was inadequate to deter such activity. It was therefore proposed in the Bill that the maximum fine be increased from $10,000 to $200,000. The Bill also sought to enable the Chief Executive in Council to make regulations to prohibit or restrict the use of any kind of apparatus for destructive fishing as specified by the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries. AD/A and F furthered explained that the Schedule to the Fisheries Protection Ordinance specified the substances deemed to be toxic substances for the purpose of the Ordinance. The Bill would transfer the power to amend the Schedule to the Ordinance from the Chief Executive in Council to the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries.

4 As regards the Amendment Regulation, AD/A and F advised that the main objectives were :

  1. to prohibit the use for the purpose of fishing of any kind of apparatus specified by the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries by legal notice in the Gazette;

  2. to extend the liability of the master or person in charge of a vessel to cover contravention of the new regulation in (a) above; and

  3. to increase the maximum fine for contravention of the Amendment Regulation from $10,000 to $200,000.

5 AD/A and F supplemented that after passage of the Bill and the Regulation, the Administration intended to specify, by legal notice in the Gazette, that certain apparatus used for electric fishing, and vacuum suction and dredging devices used to harvest clams were to be prohibited for fishing purpose.

6 Mr WONG Yung-kan supported the legislative proposals in general but was concerned about the effectiveness of the legislation if the Hong Kong Police Force could not take action against fishing vessels from the Mainland which had engaged in destructive fishing practices such as electric fishing in Hong Kong waters. In this regard, the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries (D/A and F) explained that the Administration had discussed the issue with the Mainland's fisheries authorities and the latter agreed to take action against the concerned Mainland fishermen if Hong Kong could provide them with the registration numbers of those Mainland vessels which had engaged in illegal fishing practices in Hong Kong waters.

7 Noting the Administration's $100 million project in deploying artificial reefs in marine parks and other appropriate sites, a member enquired whether part of the financial resources could be used to purchase fish fry for putting into marine parks and local fishery sites, which should be an effective method to restore fisheries resources in Hong Kong waters. D/A and F assured that the Administration was examining the feasibility of putting fish fry into marine parks and would examine if there was any need to request for switching part of the funds earmarked for the artifical reef project to purchasing fish fry.

8 As regards the use of vacuum suction devices to harvest clams, Mr WONG enquired whether it was true that devices with a small diameter suction pipe, such as those with four-inch diameter pipes, would not damage the seabed. The Senior Fisheries Officer, Agriculture and Fisheries Department advised that according to their research, there were vessels in Hong Kong using vacuum suction devices to harvest clams and the diameters of these devices were about 10 inches. The use of these devices had caused damage to the seabed in Hong Kong waters as evidenced by the fact that the quantity of clam catch in Hong Kong had decreased over the years.

9 The Chairman concluded the discussion and said that after the Bill's introduction into the Legislative Council on 22 July 1998, the House Committee would consider whether there was a need to set up a Bills Committee on the Bill.

V Any other business

10 Members agreed to visit the air cargo terminal in the new airport on 24 July 1998 am to obtain information on the latest position about the operation of the air cargo terminal. The Clerk would liaise with the Economic Services Bureau regarding detailed arrangements.

11 The meeting ended at 6:10 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
18 September 1998