The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) has published China's first regulation on shorelines, requiring that, by 2020, no less than 35 percent of the country's total shoreline should be natural.
The regulation on the protection and utilization of shorelines defines natural shorelines as those formed by land-ocean interactions, such as silt and bedrock shores.
The regulation imposes strict restrictions on the occupation of natural shoreline in construction projects, requiring strict evaluation and approval for projects that must occupy natural shoreline.
Since 1990, natural shoreline has accounted for less than 40 percent of the country's total, according to the SOA.
Prior to the regulation, the country's shores were regulated by multiple agencies without proper coordination, said Pan Xinchun, an SOA official.
A lot of the shoreline has been occupied for coastal development activities, but has not been used efficiently, Pan said.
The regulation categorizes shorelines into three types. It places some under stringent protection, restricts the development of others and requires more effective utilization of the rest.
Calling shorelines the "lifeline" of marine economic development, SOA spokesperson Gao Zhongwen said the regulation will have a positive and far-reaching influence on the protection of the marine environment, sustainable development of the marine economy and the building of marine power.