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.
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.
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.
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.
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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