The government of Sansha City, South China's Hainan Province, said it plans to offer subsidies to fishermen who live in islets and reefs of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea up to 180 days, a move to boost tourism industry on the islands.
Sansha issued a notice to increase subsidies for government employees who conduct offshore missions or work in the islands, including Yongxing Island, and subsidies will be provided to fishermen stationed in the Xisha Islands for 180 days in a year, local news portal, hinews.cn reported on Tuesday.
The city plans to promote the tourism industry on the islands and reefs and boost the fishermen's income. It provided 10 million yuan (.44 million) to help fishermen shift to other fields, including the tourism industry, according to the report.
The monthly income of 150 former fishermen on the islands has been increased from the previous 3,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan per person.
"Helping fishermen work in other fields is an important step in stabilizing the situation in the South China Sea, and it will enhance international cooperation on joint rescues at sea, maritime resources exploitation and ecological conservation," Zhu Feng, executive director of the China Center for Collaborative Studies on the South China Sea at Nanjing University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Zhu said getting more fishermen live on the islands will not only help boost the tourism industry but turn the islands and reefs into ecological and scientific exploitation havens. Zhu said that although the amount of fish caught in the area is dropping, the policy has little connection with the current fishery situation.
The Sansha government also said its 55 million yuan investment has provided residents of the islands and reefs with water and electricity as well as access to the Internet in the past four years, when Sansha was made municipal administrator in 2012.