The step forward is the Airport Authority Hong Kong's decison to set up management committees for its newly created Marine Ecology Enhancement Fund (MEEF) and Fisheries Enhancement Fund (FEF) with the aim of improving the marine ecology in the vicinity of its 3RS project area, western Hong Kong waters and the Pearl River Estuary.
The strategy is also intended to provide support to fisheries and promote sustainable fishing in Hong Kong waters.
And it is inviting applications to apply for support from the two funds starting from next month.
According to the airport, the MEEF and FEF are structured in accordance with the conditions of the Environmental Permit for the expansion of the Hong Kong International Airport into a Three-runway System (3RS).
AAHK will inject a total funding of HK$400 million into the MEEF and FEF. A steering committee has been established to provide overall directional guidance for the funds’ operation, and to consider the allocation of resources to meet the funds’ objectives.
The MEEF will support initiatives related to conservation and enhancement of marine habitat and resources, scientific studies, environmental education and eco-tourism.
Its management committee will be chaired by professor Paul Lam Kwan-sing of City University of Hong Kong and comprise 11 members, including academics, dolphin expert and representatives from green groups.
The FEF will support initiatives related to sustainable management and enhancement of fisheries resources, sustainable fisheries operations, promotion of fisheries-related business opportunities, and measures that may assist in shifting fisheries operations.
Its management committee, chaired by professor Kenneth Leung Mei-yee of the University of Hong Kong, has 12 members, comprising representatives of fishermen’s associations, fisheries expert, green group representative and academics.
Both the MEEF and FEF will publicly start calling for applications next month, with successful applicants expected to be informed by mid-2017.
Third-party groups such as non-governmental organisations, academic institutions and organisations from the fisheries sector may submit applications.
The two management committees will be responsible for vetting and selecting relevant applications in an independent and objective manner based on the merits of the project proposed by each competing application, and reviewing that selected projects are properly and effectively conducted by the successful applicants during the relevant financial year.