Between 2012 and 2015, Chinese fishermen have used large, extended propellers affixed to utility boats to chop the reefs and prepare for the construction of artificial islands.Well, I guess that makes it all right, then.
Fishermen scour the ocean floor for giant clam shells, which are prized as jewelry and luxury items that sell for up to $150,000.
According to Dr. John McManus, a University of Miami marine biologist, while building on the reefs is not new, China’s large-scale construction of a military base and runways is resulting in unprecedented environmental damage.
“Suddenly we have this massive situation where large areas of coral reef are being buried," he said. "In the end it was almost 13 square kilometers — 13 million square meters — that was destroyed, just in terms of being buried under these islands, and this was a huge, huge shock.”
China’s Foreign Ministry has said the artificial islands are to be used for civilian purposes, search and rescue missions, as well as defense.