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    China’s stature as the world’s major producer and consumer of seafood is legendary, but its long-standing tradition of protecting marine life domestically is virtually unknown. We present the most comprehensive database on area-based marine conservation in China including 326 sites that conserve 12.98% of China’s seas and address 142 conservation objectives. Twenty-two percent of shallow habitats (<10 meters) were fully or highly protected and 20% of waters 10 to 50 meters deep were conserved to some degree. Ecosystems in deeper waters (>50 meters) are critical to protect, yet <5% of these waters in China were conserved, primarily in areas with the highest chlorophyll-α concentrations. Habitats such as underwater canyons and seamounts beyond the continental shelf had no area-based protection. While China has made progress in marine protection within its boundaries, there is more work to be done to ensure that the full suite of marine life is safeguarded.


    John J Bohorquez, Guifang Xue, Timothy Frankstone, Maria M Grima, Karine Kleinhaus, Yiyi Zhao, Ellen K Pikitch. China's little-known efforts to protect its marine ecosystems safeguard some habitats but omit others. Science advances. 2021 Nov 12;7(46):eabj1569

    PMID: 34767454

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