Three people arrested for illegal catching of sea urchins, and use of jet-skis, in Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park

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One of the sea urchins taken at Hoi Ha Wan                   Photo: Facebook

Local social media is outraged at the post of a  woman and her friends catching and eating sea urchins in Hoi Ha Marine Park, and then showing them jet-skiing there.

According to  the Marine Parks and Marine Reserves Regulations, “no person shall within a marine park or marine reserve, catch any fish or other wildlife”,  nor operate a jetski. Offenders can be fined up to $25,000 and face imprisonment of one year.

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The group at Hoi Ha Wan Photo: Facebook

The social media post shows the group catching a large number of edible sea urchins, saying that they were “good and sweet”. Many  Internet users severely criticized the poster for causing ecological damage, as well as breaking the law.

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The WWF Marine Life Centre at Hoi Ha Wan       Photo: WWF

Government designated Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park in July 1996, and was one of Hong Kong’s first marine parks. It has a sea area of ​​about 260 hectares, with more than 60 coral species and 120 kinds of coral reef fish. It is  popular with diving enthusiasts.

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Selfie of the woman who initially posted on social media                   Photo: Facebook

The photos  also show one of the group wearing a wet-suit, and bringing tools and cutlery to the scene. Some of the group posted that “the underwater park really has a lot of sea urchins, there are rows of food.” They also showed underwater photos of the capture of sea urchins.

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Enjoying the illegal catch                    Photo: Facebook

IThe Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), in reply to newspaper inquiries, said they were prosecuting three individuals involved in the incident. The department also pointed out that in the period from 2016 to 2018 there were three cases of illegally hunting animals or operating jet-skis in a marine park or marine reserve. These were prosecuted, and the perpetrators were each sentenced to a fine ranging from $700 to $1,500.

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