Beijing, Oct 3 (IANS): China is to build an ocean park on Hainan Island, which is located in the disputed South China Sea.
Hainan, the southernmost province of China, is one of the coastal areas where the recreational marine parks will come up. With this, the number of ocean parks in China will go up to 42, the state media reported.
These parks, such as Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, have become major tourist attractions where world's most amazing animals and mammals, ranging from polar bears to giant sharks, are on public display. The list also includes endangered beluga whales.
The industry is on a boom in China, but animal rights activists have raised concerns over their upkeep and captivity.
The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) has ordered local marine authorities in these provinces to start demarcating the parks, and not to arbitrarily adjust or change the parks' boundaries and zoning, China's official media said on Monday.
Besides Hainan, these parks will be located in Liaoning, Shandong, Fujian and Guangdong.
A scenic island, Hainan is located in the south of China where the disputed South China Sea begins.
Beijing has laid claim to over 80 percent of the South China Sea, one of the world's most important waterways and believed to have oil reserves of seven billion barrels.
However, an international court rejected China's claims in July, backing the Philippines, with which Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia have made overlapping claims over the sea.