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June 9, 2014

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Home » Metro » Environment

Helicopters, speedboats to protect city’s islands

SPEEDBOATS, helicopters and surveillance cameras are being employed to stop tourists and locals illegally landing on mostly uninhabited islands off Shanghai.

Police helicopters plus speedboats and other vessels from the Shanghai Ocean Bureau will patrol three islands — Dajinshan, Xiaojinshan and Fushan — that are part of Jinshan District.

If intruders are recorded on eight surveillance cameras on Dajinshan or spotted by wardens there, a helicopter or speedboat carrying law enforcement personnel will be dispatched.

This is required to protect the ecology of these islands north of Hangzhou Bay, said Shen Yiyun, deputy director with the bureau.

City residents and tourists hire fishing boats to take them to the islands, especially Dajinshan which is renowned for its scenery and rare plants.

Some day-trippers even light barbecues when they get ashore on these delicate ecosystems.

“Illegal activities pose great risks to the ecosystems of the small islands,” Shen told Shanghai Daily.

The islands are listed as city-level protected land.

The 200,000-square-meter Dajinshan, which is most frequently visited, is home to rare trees and some 200 monkeys that the authorities say can be dangerous.

“It was quite difficult for the ocean authority to stop people landing on the islands,” said Li Chunyang, deputy director with the ocean management department with Jinshan District Ocean Bureau.

Li said the bureau could only advise visitors as its staff have no law enforcement powers.

Local fishermen are paid 200 yuan (US$32) take tourists to Dajinshan, according to Li.

Dajinshan’s only human inhabitants are two wardens who spend alternate three-month stretches there.

They take their own food and water supplies and solar energy panels provide electricity, said Li.

Meanwhile, the ocean authority is to begin stabilizing the rock foundations of Dajinshan while planting more trees to restore the environment, Li added.

Most of Shanghai’s 23 islands belong to areas such as Chongming Island and Jinshan District.

Some have romantic or quirky names, including Qinglu Jiao (Lovers Reef), Jigu Jiao (Chicken Bone Reef) and Huanggua Sha (Cucumber Island).




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