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China Focus: Ocean development index to boost marine economy

December 19 , 2014 -- Updated 7:12 GMT
QINGDAO, (Xinhua) -- Readings from China's first ocean development index were published on Wednesday and will provide valuable information as the country looks to boost its marine economy and build itself into a maritime power.

The index figures showed the growth of the marine industry during a five-year period.

The Xinhua Ocean Development Index rose from 100 to 275.37 between 2006 and 2011, with an annual average growth rate of 23.18 percent. This was much higher than the annual average economic growth rate of 10.52 percent in the same period, said the report.

The index included four sub-indices, namely industry development, science and technology innovation, environmental resources and marine management.

China's marine sector is being transformed through improvement of its marine industry structure, rapid growth of the offshore oil and gas industry, marine engineering construction and marine tourism, said the report.

The index showed China's marine development has enormous potential and a strong momentum, said the report, which was jointly released by the Xinhua (Qingdao) International Ocean Information Center and the State Financial Information Center Index Research Institute.

As regards the country's marine environment, the report said heavily polluted waters in relation to the total proportion of marine pollution increased substantially, indicating the pollution situation is very poor.

China's marine management has been gradually improving, the report said.

There has been a significant increase in maritime law enforcement inspections, but no significant decline in violations found, indicating China's determination and to improve management and resolutely safeguard national marine rights and interests and heavy tasks ahead, the report said.

Cao Wenzhong, president of the information center, said the rise of the index showed the remarkable progress made by China in its marine development and capabilities.

The key report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last November outlined the "maritime power" strategy, calling for increased capacity for exploiting marine resources, protecting the marine environment and safeguarding the country's maritime rights and interests.

At a study session in July, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for efforts to learn more about and further manage maritime development, and underscored efforts to make marine industries a pillar of the national economy.

The ocean development index report was released at the 2013 China International Blue Economy Summit Forum, which was held in the coastal city of Qingdao, Shandong Province on Wednesday.

The Xinhua (Qingdao) International Ocean Information Center was jointly established by China's Xinhua News Agency, the provincial government of Shandong and the Qingdao municipal government. It is a platform for marine information collection, processing and release.