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Lawmakers pass coastal waters framework bill

Fri, 13th Jul 2018

The Legislative Assembly (AL) passed a government-drafted bill on the management of Macau’s coastal waters, slated to come into effect after its promulgation in the Official Gazette (BO), during a plenary session Thursday.

The new law – the Maritime Areas Management Framework Law – states that no gaming projects are allowed on land newly reclaimed from the sea.

The bill’s outline was passed during a plenary session of the legislature in January this year. The legislature’s 2nd Standing Committee held five meetings to review the bill.

In December 2015, the central government granted Macau jurisdiction over 85 square kilometres of its coastal waters to help with its economic diversification. Previously, unlike Hong Kong, Macau had no jurisdiction over its coastal waters. The city’s current land area amounts to about 30.5 square kilometres.

The new law states that the local government should manage the city’s coastal waters in line with six objectives, namely ensuring that the development of Macau’s coastal waters complies with the national interest and with the city’s long-term development interests; promoting economic diversification and the city’s sustainable development; protecting the marine environment; strengthening the city’s capacity to prevent and reduce marine disasters; increase the quality and efficiency of the development of the city’s coastal waters; and promoting the development of the city’s marine economy.

The new law states that the local government needs to apply for permission from the central government to reclaim land in Macau’s coastal waters. According to the new law, the local government has to ensure that any ongoing and future land reclaimed from Macau’s coastal waters will not be used for gaming projects.

The local government has designated six new land reclamation zones officially known as A, B, C, D, E1 and E2. The Zone B and Zone E2 projects have been completed for years but have still not been developed. The Zone A and Zone E1 projects were completed late last year. The Zone C and Zone D projects have not yet got off the ground.

The new law states that the Marine and Water Bureau (DSAMA) is tasked with the overall management of Macau’s coastal waters and that the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) is tasked with the protection of the marine environment.