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July 21st, 2005, 07:12 AM
Guide book reveals amazing riches among HK coral reefs
20 July 2005
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong has some of the best coral reefs in the region, and far more coral species than thought.
The newly published Field Guide to Hard Corals of Hong Kong, compiled after two years' research by Hong Kong and Australian scientists, identified 84 hard coral species.
Of the 84 corals, 10 are new species and two are still unnamed.
The last guide, The Corals of Hong Kong, which was published more than 20 years ago, identified only 50 species.
"Our collection of corals is quite rich, even by international standards," said Choyce Choi, an author of the guide.
"In particular, the size and abundance of [brain worm coral] are a unique component of local coral communities. The species recorded, their size and their abundance, have not been recorded anywhere else in the Indo-Pacific Ocean - this genus is the flagship coral of Hong Kong."
The bulk of the guide was based on studies by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the marine science laboratory of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong sits on the northern border of the Southeast Asian marine biodiversity triangle, the richest concentration of marine life on the planet.
The researchers said Hong Kong was home to rich and diverse marine fauna and flora, especially along the northeastern and eastern shores where waters were sheltered and free from the influence of the Pearl River.
"In fact, most of these species already existed in Hong Kong - we just haven't found them before," said Alan Lai-koon Chan, another contributor to the guide and a senior marine conservation officer.
April 16th, 2006, 09:37 PM
Research boosts coral protection drive
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, April 17, 2006
Efforts by environmentalists to protect coral species in New Territories waters are closer to success after experiments with an underwater submersible and stationary video cameras focused worldwide attention on Hong Kong's unique coral environment.
Katherine Lam, a scientist working with the Hoi Ha Wan marine science center operated by the World Wildlife Fund in Hong Kong, and a floating laboratory in the same area operated by City University, has recently discovered that coral spawns more than once during the summer. The move has the potential to save coral species and protect them from damage from divers and development.
Previously, it was thought that coral only spawned once, during a full moon in the months of June and August.
But by using permanent cameras submerged near coral beds in Hoi Ha Wan, Lam found that the coral is reproducing continually over the course of several months.
The project is sponsored by the Hong Kong government.
Lam and other conservationists can predict to within two hours when the coral is preparing to spawn so they can give warning to divers to stay away.
The spawn from coral can ruin diving equipment and skin suits, while sediment from developments such as the laying of underwater cable or runoff from latrines, can damage the spawn by creating a septic environment.
Lam was away and could not be reached for comment.
"It's cutting edge stuff that she's doing here," said Paul Hodgson, a friend and colleague of Lam's, who runs an marine consultancy business in Sai Kung.
April 17th, 2006, 05:50 AM
Corals only grow in warm and FRESH CLEAN water. Interesting!
April 17th, 2006, 10:38 AM
I don't know that there are coral reefs in HK. That's a surprise.
April 19th, 2006, 07:17 AM
With all the habour pollution, I'm surprised that HK still has coral reefs.
April 19th, 2006, 07:24 AM
Well... Harbour pollution is only serious within the Victoria Harbour and some parts of the Western coast.
April 19th, 2006, 07:49 AM
At least it's a relief to know, I guess HK becoming a service city isn't so bad after all. :cheers:
April 19th, 2006, 07:52 AM
Corals are the most fragile animals I can think of, this summer I hope I can go for a scuba diving near some of HK's outskirt island.
December 18th, 2006, 07:28 AM
Corals defy odds to flourish in Hong Kong: report
HONG KONG, Dec 17, 2006 (AFP) - Coral reefs are defying the odds in Hong Kong and flourishing in the city's polluted waters, a media report citing a government survey said Sunday.
The southern Chinese city's Coral Watch index -- a measure of coral density -- gave a reading this year of 4.24, up from last year's 3.85, suggesting coral is managing to get a greater toe-hold.
Officials said the boost was the result of efforts to prevent boats and ships from dropping anchors on live reefs.
"The better situation can be attributed to the use of coral marker buoys, which help remind boats not to drop anchor in the waters of healthy coral reefs," government marine conservation officer Alan Chan was quoted as saying in the Sunday Morning Post.
Hong Kong is made up of hundreds of small sub-tropical islands, many of them fringed with coral reefs.
However, they are under daily attack from ships and boats that enter the harbour, the world's busiest, in their thousands each day.
They are also inundated with the putrid waters of China's Pearl River -- in whose estuary Hong Kong sits -- which is abused as a natural sewer running through China's heavily populated and industrialised southern region.
August 16th, 2007, 06:47 PM
Healthy state of coral attests to water quality
16 August 2007
South China Morning Post
Water quality in the northeast of Hong Kong is good enough to host 84 hard-coral species - about 10 per cent of the world's total - a marine conservation expert said yesterday.
However, the sea's rising temperature is turning the coral white.
"There are five sites out of 33 in the northeast of Hong Kong that recorded coral bleaching in the Hong Kong Reef Check 2006," said Khaki Chan King, a marine conservation officer with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
"They are Lai Chi Wo, Hoi Ha Wan pier, Port Island, Pak Ma Tsui and Siu Long Ke. It may be caused by the extended period of elevated water temperature during the summer."
Dr Chan said the impact of the bleaching was localised.
Coral bleaching refers to the loss of a coral's colour due to the stress-induced expulsion of algae, namely zooxanthellae.
Normally, less than 0.1 per cent of the zooxanthellae are released from healthy coral. However, when experiencing stress, such as an increase in sea temperature, coral expels zooxanthellae in greater quantities, causing it to turn white.
Dr Chan said coral at all 33 sites was generally in a healthy condition, but depending on the degree of bleaching and how long the stress lasted, bleached coral could eventually die.
Sea temperatures in the tropics have risen by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius each century.
The fisheries department's report, "The Hong Kong Reef-Building Corals", said that at less than 10 per cent of total coverage, the average area of dead coral in Hong Kong was low, while the average area of injured coral was less than 25 per cent.
"Coral is very sensitive to the external environment, such as a change in sea temperature and salinity. Its abundance testifies that the water quality is good," Dr Chan said.
She said the sites with high coral coverage also recorded high coral diversity and an abundance of fish.
"Nineteen of a total of 20 pre-determined indicator species [of fish] were recorded in the survey last year," she said.
December 20th, 2007, 10:12 AM
16 December 2007
August 13th, 2008, 11:34 AM
Coral reefs healthy but under pressure
Global warming may affect HK sea gardens
16 December 2007
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong's 33 coral reefs are generally healthy and stable, but there are indications they are under pressure from global warming.
The Reef Check 2007, released yesterday on the 10th anniversary of the first of the annual checks, recorded high coral coverage - equal to or more than 50 per cent - in 22 of the 33 sites, but six of the sites suffered "bleaching" due to warmer waters.
Last year, five sites recorded bleaching, and 23 recorded high coral coverage.
The coral health indexes ranged from 3.33 to 4.93 this year, a slight deterioration from last year's 3.43 to 5.18. The scale maximum is 6.0.
Alan Chan Lai-koon, senior marine conservation officer of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, said the reef report card was positive. "The general coral cover, species diversity and health conditions are generally stable."
The indicator species of fish and invertebrates that inhabit the areas are "quite rich and diverse", he said.
The department held the annual exercise with the Reef Check Foundation. It involved 36 teams totalling 360 divers recording and monitoring from July to September.
The checks covered the 33 "best coral-growing sites" in the eastern part of Hong Kong waters extending from Tung Ping Chau in the north to the Ninepin islands in the south, Mr Chan said.
Foundation co-ordinator Terence Fong Ching-wai said although the health of the coral was "still OK, if we try to predict in a few years we are quite worried. If the temperature increases by 2 to 3 degrees, then it will have a bigger impact".
His group would keep monitoring the water temperature, as it would increase the risk of coral bleaching.
Local coral contains the symbiotic algae Zooxanthellae, which give coral its colour and provide food.
"If these algae leave the coral body, the coral cannot survive after 10, 12 or 30 days," Mr Fong said. "The algae leave the coral body with an increase in temperature and increase in salinity and turbidity."
Mr Chan said bleaching was "very minor and localised", involving less than 5 per cent of each site.
He did not think global warming would affect local coral in the short term because it is "quite tough".
"Most of the corals are in the northeastern part of Hong Kong where we have very good flushing from the ocean current and also the temperature variations of seawater is not very high, ranging from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. It is very stable so the impact on coral is not as high."
The coral was in "good shape" based on the health indexes which were all above 3, Mr Chan said. There might be index fluctuations due to "random sampling and because we sampled 20 sites [whereas] last year we did 24".
The department had commissioned Chinese University to study the distribution and diversity of soft coral, octocoral and black coral, Mr Chan said.
"The information will be useful in terms of planning, managing and conservation."
Results are due next December.
December 21st, 2008, 05:28 PM
【 本 報 訊 】 珊 瑚 是 海 底 的 瑰 寶 ， 今 年 香 港 珊 瑚 礁 普 查 結 果 相 當 理 想 ， 珊 瑚 生 長 健 康穩 定 ， 但 有 個 別 地 點 錄 得 珊 瑚 受 損 或 白 化 現 象 ， 幸 情 況 僅 屬 輕 微 ， 並 局 限 於 個 別 地方 。 漁 農 自 然 護 理 署 表 示 會 密 切 監 察 情 況 ， 加 強 保 護 珊 瑚 的 宣 傳 育 工 作 。
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普 查 健 康 狀 況 良 好
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December 20th, 2009, 06:26 PM
Satisfying results from reef check
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Government Press Release
Hong Kong Reef Check 2009, the annual reef check exercise co-ordinated by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in collaboration with the Reef Check Foundation since 2000, finds local corals generally in healthy and stable condition with higher fauna diversity.
AFCD held a presentation ceremony today (December 19) in appreciation of the work of Reef Check teams and their contribution to the success of Hong Kong Reef Check 2009. Officiating at the ceremony, the Assistant Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (Country and Marine Parks), Mr Joseph Sham, commended participating teams for their support and presented them with souvenirs.
The 41 Reef Check Teams comprised more than 410 divers from different sectors of community, including education institutes, green groups, commercial sectors, government departments and diving groups.
The surveyed water areas are extensive, covering 33 sites of ecological importance. The three-month exercise started on June 11 covered coral sites in the eastern part of Hong Kong waters extending from Tung Ping Chau in the north to Ninepin Groups in the south, including three Marine Parks - Hoi Ha Wan, Yan Chau Tong and Tung Ping Chau Marine Parks.
The survey method and data collection of Hong Kong Reef Check follows international standards. Reef Check divers recorded the indicator species (including 20 fish and invertebrates), coral coverage and health status. The data helps assess the coral condition and fauna diversity of a coral reef ecosystem over time.
The survey continues to yield encouraging results. In general, the growth of corals in Hong Kong is stable and healthy. Indicator species are abundant in most of the survey sites. A variation in coral coverage (ranging from 19% to 74%) was recorded among 33 survey sites. Twenty-three of them including dive-sites within Marine Parks (Hoi Ha Wan, Yan Chau Tong and Tung Ping Chau Marine Parks) recorded high coral coverage (above 50%). Among all sites, the public pier and Coral Beach at Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park and A Ma Wan at Tung Ping Chau Marine Park recorded the highest coral coverage (ranging from 72% to 74%).
Most of the survey sites boast high species diversity. Out of the 20 assigned indicator species, 19 were recorded, two more species as compared to 17 species recorded last year. Wrasses, groupers, butterfly fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and cowries were species commonly found in the survey sites.
Coral Watch has been included in the Reef Check since 2005 to enhance the monitoring of coral health status. Through measuring the colour intensity of the coral using a specially designed Coral Health Monitoring Chart, the health condition of corals can then be determined.
Corals at 22 sites were assessed using Coral Watch tool in Reef Check 2009. The average health index is 4.31 (ranging from 3.51 to 5.48). The results are similar to last year (4.27). The average health index is well above the general average value (3), indicating corals were in healthy and stable condition.
Coral bleaching and some coral damage were observed at a few sites but the impacts were minor and localised.
The first Hong Kong National Geopark was opened in November 3. It comprises eight geo areas in the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region. To better conserve the seascape feature and ecological resources including coral communities in the geopark, a plan is under way to designate more marine parks.
Corals form a highly productive system that supports various marine organisms by providing them food and shelter. AFCD will continue to organise the Reef Check activities to collect important information necessary for devising conservation and management measures to protect the precious corals.
July 14th, 2012, 06:14 PM
Fish thriving in reef habitats
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Plans are afoot for the creation of more fisheries protection areas and artificial reefs.
And officers from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department believe the diversity of marine life will be enhanced once the ban on trawling comes into effect at end of this year.
The department started the artificial reef project in 1996 and a study last year showed 101 species inhabiting the reefs, including sweetlips, Russell's snappers, mangrove snappers and the highly valuable coral trout.
Fisheries officer William Siu Ho-lim said the finding is similar to a study in 2005, when 106 marine species were found. The department has placed a total of 668 artificial reefs - tires, broken boats or anything with a hard surface - in Hong Kong waters.
"The artificial reefs serve as spawning and nursery areas for marine life," Siu said.
"Some have even developed into mature biological environments for invertebrates."
The study also showed artificial reefs could help prevent trawling.
Siu believes the trawling ban will greatly help protect the marine habitat.
Of the 5,000 vessels registered in Hong Kong, 1,000 are tugboats and 400 of them trawl locally.
Accordingly, the department will soon set up a registration system for local fishing boats and limit the number of new ones following the introduction of the Fisheries Protection (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 on June 15.
Siu said the department also plans more fisheries protection areas in marine parks.
"We might start at the eastern coastal area, namely Long Harbour or Port Shelter. But the details remain to be discussed. We don't have a schedule yet."
Siu added the department will introduce biofilters - complex artificial reefs made of stainless steel with a greater surface area - in shallow waters to further provide homes for marine life.
July 21st, 2012, 05:35 PM
By stanley92 from a Hong Kong discussion forum :