Re ECF Project: 2012-05

Project Title: Carrying capacities of dive sites in Hong Kong

Applicant: Dr. Chung Shan Shan of Hong Kong Baptist University

Total Approved Grant: $499,660

Duration: 1/8/2013 to 31/7/2015

Project Status/Remarks: Completed

This project aims to investigate the ecological, psychological and subjective social carrying capacities with respect to recreational diving use in Sharp Island and Chim Chau. The ultimate objective of the proposal is to make recommendations on feasible and effective management and policy measures that would enable the sustainable use of dive sites in Hong Kong.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
The ecological carrying capacity (i.e., the maximum acceptable diver number) at Sharp Island (SI) was estimated as 2,000 to 2,500 diver per year. However, the ecological carrying capacity assessment of Tsim Chau could not be completed as a sudden complete wipe out of sea anemone occurred towards the end of the survey (September 2014). Regarding the social carrying capacities, it was found that divers begin to feel unacceptably crowded if 7~8 divers were visible to them at one time. On the psychological carrying capacity, it was found that Hong Kong diving sites had not exceeded this carrying capacity and the most influential factor in influencing divers’ willingness to return to Hong Kong diving sites was “the quality of corals”. In conclusion, for SI, it was likely that its social carrying capacity had been exceeded on a daily basis during weekends of the peak diving season. On a yearly basis, it was also likely that the ecological carrying capacity of SI had been exceeded. One seminar was held and three journals were published.