In view of the scientific interest of the sandy beach and the nearby shallow water, the area has become a Site of Special Scientific Interest since 1999. The sandy beach at Sham Wan was also designated as a Restricted Area under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170) in the same year.
To strengthen the protection of the Green Turtle, with effect from 1 April 2021, the Restricted Area has been expanded from the beach to the adjacent waters in the inlet of the sea, and the restricted period has been extended from five months to seven months (1 April to 31 October) every year. Unauthorised entry is subject to a maximum fine of HKD50,000.
Conservation Management of Sham Wan
Patrol and monitoring
During the restricted period, nature wardens conduct patrols to prevent unauthorised activities and to monitor the nesting activities of Green Turtles. Remote surveillance cameras are deployed to monitor nesting behaviors, as well as to facilitate rapid response against illegal activities.
Climber and garbage removal
Before the onset of the nesting season each year, AFCD carries out conservation management work at the nesting site including removal of climbers such as the Beach Morning-glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae) and Vitex rotundifolia. The latter is extensively rooted and difficult to control. These climbers obstruct the turtles from making their nests and their hatchlings from entering the sea. If turtles are unable to penetrate the climber thicket and have to make nests closer to the sea, the eggs would have a risk of being flooded. Marine refuse also poses problem to sea turtles. While the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is responsible for removing garbage on beaches, refuse is sometimes washed ashore. AFCD conducts regular inspection at the Sham Wan Restricted Area and remove abandoned fishing nets, refuse and unwanted vegetation to maintain suitable habitats for breeding Green Turtles.