Demonstration Project of Community Participatory Coral Reef Conservation and Sustainable Island Tourism in Weizhou Island, Guangxi
Demonstration Project of Community Participatory Coral Reef Conservation and Sustainable Island Tourism in Weizhou Island, Guangxi
Baseline information:
Weizhou Island is located in the middle of Beibu Gulf, Beihai City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, bordering Beihai City, Guangxi in the north, Leizhou Peninsula in the east, Xieyang Island in the southeast, Hainan Island across the sea in the south and Vietnam in the west. It has a total area of 26.88 square kilometers and a coastline of 36.6 kilometers, and has a good natural harbor and a large area of clean and open beaches. Beibu Gulf, including Weizhou Island, is one of the four famous fishing grounds in China that are rich in fishery resources. Weizhou Island is formed by volcanic eruption, and its sea erosion landform is abnormally developed. Pure natural beaches, blue sea water and ancient volcanoes embrace together around the island. Located in the subtropical region, the climate there belongs to the south subtropical monsoon climate, which is more balanced than other regions. Generally speaking, Weizhou Island has suitable climatic conditions, warm winter and cool summer, long sunshine time, and is suitable for tourism all year round. It is one of the popular destinations for island tourism in China.
The industrial structure of Weizhou Island is dominated by the primary industry. Most islanders are engaged in fishery and agricultural production, and these two industries are, indeed, the islanders’ main source of income. In recent years, Weizhou Island began to vigorously develop tourism and strive to develop it as the leading industry. Since 2001, the government has successively formulated and implemented "Weizhou Island Tourism Resources Development and Ecological Environment Protection Plan "and “Tourist Area in Weizhou Island , Beihai Development Plan”. Weizhou Island has become the second island in China after Hainan Island, which is clearly positioned to develop international high-end leisure and holiday tourism by the government.
The coral reefs are mainly distributed in the north, east and southwest of Weizhou Island, and is the only coral reef group along the coast of Guangxi, as well as an important part of the marine ecosystem in Guangxi. However, the coral reef coverage rate in Guangxi has dropped by more than 80% in the past 30 years, and according to the coral reef survey results, the average coverage rate is only 13% now.
At present, Coral Reef National Marine Park in Weizhou Island, Guangxi has been established, which is located in the southern sea area of Beihai City. It is one of the 10 approved national marine parks in China, with a total area of 2,512.92 hectares, including 1,278.08 hectares of key protected areas and 1,234.84 hectares of moderate utilization areas.
In the sea region outside Ocean Park, Ocean College of Guangxi University has cultivated tens of thousands of corals in the 13-hectare scientific research areas, with a survival rate of over 80%, and built Weizhou Island Coral Museum, Weizhou Island Undersea Coral Reef Restoration Base and Coral Reef Ecological Education Center of Ocean College of Guangxi University. Ocean College of Guangxi University was established in 2014, and its Coral Reef Research Center has gathered the research team with the most complete coral reef research specialties and the largest number of researchers in China. At present, in order to monitor the coral reef status in real time, Guangxi University has not only installed a real-time monitoring system in the college laboratory, but also installed a remote visual monitoring system on the seabed of Weizhou Island.
With the scientific support of coral restoration and planting from Guangxi University, Better Blue cooperates with it to carry out the conservation and expansion of artificial coral, and turns the area into a demonstration site of coral conservation with multi-participation. At the same time, it has a positive impact on the coral reef ecology in the existing Ocean Park area by educating the residents and tourists of ecological protection of Weizhou Island and creating eco-tourism business cards.
Main problems:
Historically, the ecological environment on Weizhou Island has been well maintained. Due to the continuous development of the external economy since the reform and opening up, some economic actions have caused damage to the local ecology. On the one hand, most of the local residents are engaged in agriculture and fishery, and their economic level is relatively backward. They expose reefs to dredge sand, and excavate coral reefs, etc. as building materials for their own houses. As more and more tourists enter the island, the local area gradually focuses on tourism as the main mode of development. Some local residents on Weizhou Island collect corals and sell fish without official permission, which endangers the coastal species. The building of guesthouses with local materials also increases the damage to the ecological environment. At the same time, tourism behaviours such as diving and whale watching without proper guidance have also caused more noticeable consequences to the local ecology. The root of these problems is that Weizhou Island’s economy is relatively backward, the local residents prefer economic development when presented choices between economy and environmental protection, without realizing that environmental protection is more crucial. However, despite the vigorous development of tourism industry, due to reasons including imperfect management mechanism, the lack of infrastructure and transportation construction, the overall development of Weizhou Island is not as prosperous as expected. Instead, it brings a series of environmental and economic development problems.
Based on the above problems, Weizhou Island needs to repair the destroyed ecological environment, and at the same time promote the balance between the tourism industry and the concept of environmental protection, and establish the ability to develop sustainable use of marine resources.

Activity 1.
Lead the specialty divers to restore and plant coral reefs, support the annual Guangxi reef check as the leader
Activity 2.
Standardize the process of reef survey and coral planting and conservation
Activity 3.
Training for intertidal zone exploration guides and Weizhou Island Coral Museum guides
Activity 4.
Design the marine eco-tourism map for Weizhou Island and launch it in multiple channels
Activity 5.
Create a case of ecological sustainable guesthouse space with rich marine culture

Anticipated outcomes:
1. Directly restore and maintain the original damaged coral reef area, plant new reef, and to protect and maintain the biodiversity in the region
2. Enhance the marine protection awareness and ability of local residents and tourists; the project will establish coral conservation diving teams containing citizen scientists, with the professional skills of coral planting and conservation.
3. Enhance the marine protection awareness and ability of local residents and tourists; the project will train the intertidal zone exploration guides and Weizhou Island Coral Museum guides facing the local community residents.
4. Enhance the marine protection awareness and ability of local residents and tourists; the tourists can receive the marine eco-tourism map through multiple channels, to understand how to travel in a scientifical, sustainable and environmental-friendly way, and receive more eco-friendly island tourist experience.
5. Weizhou Island will become a more standardized and eco-friendly marine tourism industry model and demonstration base, the local residents will fully participate in the joint development, enhance the marine protection awareness and ability.
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Project Snapshot

Haikou Better Blue Marine Conservation Center
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 0.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 98,128.34
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 16,986.48
Project Number:
Currently under execution
Project Characteristics and Results
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
1) The training of local guides: carry out the public welfare training of intertidal zone exploration guide and the Weizhou Island Coral Reef Museum guide facing the local community residents, so that the community residents can participate in the model of Weizhou Island eco-tourism project and become one of its practitioners, thereby enhancing the knowledge and skills of local communities and tourists towards coastal and coral reef protection, and simultaneously provide new income subsidy sources for the local communities. 2) The training of local diving conservation specialty instructors: develop the marine conservation specialty course centered around coral planting experience, and carry out free training for local diving practitioners, diversify the types of service they can provide. And purchase their services of underwater operations such as long-term coral planting and reef survey. 3) To provide diversified ocean themed scenes for service industry operators such as guesthouses and cafes, create differentiated competitive advantage and provide more distinctive services.
Notable Community Participation
2) There are few tourisms recreation on Weizhou Island and most of them are aquatic sports. Both the operators and the participants are mostly youth. Some of them are coming to Weizhou Island from other places to run various restaurants. Young people are more receptable to new and foreign thoughts and they could engage tourists to join various activities. Such as “Plastic free Island”, Ocean conservation workshop, sharing on social media, share photos at insider spots. Young people also have relatively high innovation ability, and support from various aspects is conducive to their persistent advocacy of Marine conservation.
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SGP Country office contact

Ms. Yi Liu
86 10 85320731
Ms. Meijia Lu


No. 2 Liangmahe Nanlu
Beijing, Chaoyang, 100600