Sanya – China

Management Authority

The Reserve lies in the Sanya City Administrative Area district of Hainan Province. The Sanya Marine and Fishery Bureau is the designated government authority responsible for management. The State Oceanic Administration and Marine and Fishery Department of Hainan province has overall authority to manage the area.

Objective/Purpose of the Site

  • Effective management and conservation of coral reef and associated marine ecosystem.
  • Providing successful examples to environmentally sound tourism management in the Reserve waters.

Demographic Statistics

Population: 450,000

Ecological Features and Assets

There are 110 reef-building corals and some 30 species of soft corals identified in the Reserve. The most commonly seen coral in the area are species of Acropora, Porites luteu, Goniastrea aspra. The coral cover in some areas can reach over 70%. In particular, the coral reef formations occurring in Dadonghai, Xiaodonghai and Yalong bays have good cover and are well protected. The marine fauna includes more than 300 species of fish and 300 invertebrates (ca. 70 crustaceans, 10 echinoderms, and 220 molluscs). In addition, there are over 60 large benthic algae found in the area with the largest quantity in spring and smallest in winter.


5,568 ha

Socioeconomic features and assets

Long history of agriculture and fishery in Sanya. In the last 10 years tourism and aquaculture has grown. GDP in 2001 was 3295 million Chinese Yuan, of which the tourism income accounts for 73.75%

Background Legislation and Policy support

A number of relevant regulations have been promulgated at city and provincial levels, together providing a strong legislative underpinning for conservation work at the site. These include:

  • Nature Reserve Management Regulations of Hainan Province is executed (1991.9)
  • Official announcement concerning the Sanya Coral Reef Reserve, No. 95 (1992.7) made by Sanya Municipal Government
  • Nature Reserve Regulation of People’s Republic of China (1994.12) is put into force
  • Management Measure of Marine Nature Reserve (1995.5) made by SOA was carried out
  • Official announcement No. 139 of the Sanya Municipal Government (1995.8) prohibiting the capture, collection and sale of corals, turtles and their products, made by Sanya Municipal Government
  • Coral Reef Protection Regulation of Hainan Province (1998.9), issued by People’s Congress Council of Hainan Province
  • Examining and Approving Procedure of Scientific Research, Practice Teaching and Moderate Exploitation in Marine Nature Reserve (2001.4), made by Marine and Fishery Department of Hainan Province

Partnerships & Stakeholder

Administrative office of Sanya National Coral Reef Nature Reserve, Hainan Ocean and Fishery Department, Marine and Fishery Department of Hainan Province, State Oceanic Administration (SOA)

Financing mechanism

Hainan provincial government, SOA, research grants, international co-operation, tour companies

Highlights and Success

The presence of the reserve has principally controlled damaging activities against coral reef and the ecosystem, effectively ensuring the seashore tourism with a focus on coral reef sightseeing. Yalong Bay, Xidao and Dadonghai have now become famous tourist resorts in China. Tourism develops rapidly in Sanya due to the reserve, as some 1.5 million tourists have come to Sanya, with many visiting the reserve.

Major Needs

  • Improve partnership in MPA for local government /NGO participation in MPA area management.
  • Strengthen protection and carry out coral reef ecosystem recovery projects
  • Examine existing legislation for harmonisation to improve legal instruments for coral reef protection,
  • Improve monitoring capacity on success indicators, especially ecotourism
  • Improve existing infrastructure, monitor enforcement, technical staff capacity
  • Effective and practical means for CBM, environmental education and public awareness