- 연안습지보전에 관한 입법론적 고찰
- Alternative Title
- A Study on Legislation of the Coastal Wetlands Conservation
- Publication Year
- 한국해양대학교 대학원
- The Korea peninsula is surrounded on three sides by distinctively beautiful seas and possesses a number of tidal flats which is one of the very important costal wetlands in the world
The value of tidal flats which is a kind of wetlands go beyond beautiful scenery. They are the treasure troves of marine ecology. Not only are they temporary and permanent homes to many water-birds but tidal flats are also breeding grounds as well as habitats for 60% of marine animals. The livelihood of many fishermen depends directly and indirectly on the tidal flats. The purification function of the tidal flats plays a major role in maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem. And they clean the water by removing pollution before it gets to the sea. If we destroy the tidal flats it will lead to devastating degradation of the environment. There are many other notable benefits of tidal flats, such as the reduction of food and typhoon damages, prevention of soil erosion, and the growing recreation and tourist industries.
The wetlands have been often regarded as wasteland with little or no value. Since the 1970s, industrial plants and farming lands were created through enormous reclamation projects. Around 40% of the total tidal flats were destroyed and lost forever. The cause for reclamation and landfill is in a sense understandable but behind that thinking lies the notion that wetlands are of no use. Tidal flats are indeed a precious part of our land and to ignore that fact would be a serious mistake. Fortunately, public awareness of the importance of tidal flats is gradually growing. Many civic and environmental groups are working to preserve our wetlands. Such activities led to the enactment of the Wetlands Preservation Act in February, 1999. According to this act the Ministry of marine Affairs and Fisheries(MOMAF) is exerting efforts to systematically preserve and manage tidal flats.
The Wetlands Preservation Act was legislated to effectively preserve and manage tidal flats and pursue international cooperation in accordance with the Ramsar Convention. The major contents of the Act are listed below. The Act encompasses terrestrial wetland as well as tidal flats but this report focuses on tidal flats only. First, the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries conducts a monitoring and research program every 5 years to better understand the status of tidal flats. Based on the results the Ministry will establish a basic plan to preserve the tidal flats. Second, the MOMAF will designate tidal flats that have abundant biodeversity, provide temporary or permanent habitats for endangered wildlife species, or are worth preserving for environmental needs as Wetlands Preservation Areas. The surrounding of these areas will be set aside as Specially Managed Wetlands Surrounding Area. The MOMAF will set up a conservation plan to effectively manage the specific areas. Third, it is illegal to license landfills, permit digging up construction materials like silt or and, construct or extend building, arbitrarily alter water levels, or hunt and collect animals and plants. However, long-term local residents of tidal flats may continue to cultivate, collect, or catch animals and plants in the region. Fourth, those who wish to conduct a reclamation project and/or engage in a project that may impair the tidal flat must receive permission from the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Fifth, the government has the "obligation to save and preserve the tidal flats by all means." Even in the case where damage is unavoidable, a substantial area of tidal flats must be preserved.
But for the more preserve our wetlands, the Wetlands Preservation Act must be amended in some respects. First, the Ministry will designate tidal flats that satisfied the condition §8 of the Wetlands Preservation Act as Wetlands Preservation Areas. In 1998, the Republic of Korea has about 2,393㎢ of tidal flats. But the Wetlands Preservation Areas designated about 140.728㎢ which is nothing but 5.88% of the area of total tidal flats now in 2004. According to the value of tidal flats, the Ministry should designate tidal flats as Wetlands Preservation Areas immediately. Seconds, Establish a plan, a case of designate or cancellation of the Wetlands Preservation Areas, the Ministry should collect public opinions according to the condition §8 of the Wetlands Preservation Act. But in this procedures of collecting public opinions, an extent of participation's people is limited. According to §8 of that, the people range of the collecting public opinions is only local residents. This limited participation's people will be lead to some wrong decision. So the range of participations people in case of collecting public opinions must extend to residents and interested parties as an environmental groups. And the Ministry will then establish a detailed preservation plan to set up tidal flat preservation facilities, to develop and support income-increasing projects for local residents, and to specify sustainable use. Third, some wetlands will be registered on the Ramsar list for more thorough and extensive conservation and management. Fourth, The MOMAF will develop environment education programs to facilitate eco-tourism industry in tidal flat regions. In addition, the Ministry will actively support cultural programs that heighten regional pride in wetlands. First of all, educational programs will be designed to target local residents, students, and the general public. In addition, special guides will be trained to teach about the environment to students at eco-camps and eco-schools. The central government will support various cultural events carried out by local governments, including traditional tidal flat fishing events, sports events, food festivals, fitness centers, and mud spas. Meanwhile the local residents must take the initiative to develop and promote local tourism products that give tourists a chance to have hands-on experience of marine environments and the lifestyle of fishing communities. By building pleasant recreation spots and relating getaways at these regions, the public awareness of tidal flats will rise, ultimately leading to enhanced quality of life for all.
The tidal flats are an invaluable natural resource with various cultural, environmental, and economic values and function. Nonetheless, for the past few decades, tidal flats have been disappearing from our ecosystem under the pretext of development. Due to excessive reclamation and landfills to create industrial or agricultural land, we failed to fully appreciate the precious value of tidal flats. However, the enactment of the Wetlands Preservation Act was a turning point, which opened the way for effective preservation and management of tidal flats. The public and private sector must work together to conserve our valuable wetlands. However, efforts on the part of the central government are not enough. Without the support and cooperation of local residents and the general public it would be difficult to achieve the envisioned future for our tidal flats. Voluntary efforts to stop the irreversible damage to our tidal flats are desperately needed to endow the remaining tidal flats to future generations.
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