The State Oceanic Administration (SAO) said yesterday in Beijing that the Chinese mainland's marine industries have entered their best ever period, with output worth 1.284 trillion yuan (US$155 billion) last year.
Guangdong Province, Shanghai Municipality and the provinces of Zhejiang, Shandong and Fujian were the top five regional marine economies, each with an output value of more than 100 billion yuan (US$12 billion), according to Li Chunxian, the administration's spokesperson.
The output of the offshore oil and gas industry amounted to 59.5 billion yuan (US$7.2 billion), accounting for 4.6 percent of the gross output of major marine industries.
The figures were disclosed in the Bulletin of the China Marine Economic Statistics for 2004, released by the SOA yesterday.
"Offshore oil is expected to be the major source of crude oil increase in the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10)," said He Guangshun, deputy director of the SOA's National Marine Data and Information Service.
The output of offshore oil reached 28.43 million tons, up 16.6 percent on the previous year. Southern China's Guangdong Province took a leading role in the offshore oil and gas industry, with 49.6 percent of the share.
The report showed that China's overall marine economy was in the middle to upper levels of the world's coastal nations.
"Some Chinese marine industries hold a pivotal position in the world," said Li.
The country's gross output of sea salt still ranks first in the world, as does the handling capacity of major coastal harbors. The marine ship building industry has grown rapidly, holding steady in third place.
However, Li said, the marine economy is still small per capita and there is still a great gap with developed countries in terms of economic and technological content.
Li said rapid development of the marine economy has also promoted labor and employment in coastal regions.
According to a survey on ocean-related employment, one-tenth of employees in coastal regions are engaged in ocean-related trades involving over 21 million people.
Both the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Sea zones have exceeded 400 billion yuan (US$48.4 billion) in gross major marine industry output value.
(China Daily February 1, 2005)