Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dachen Archipelago

The Dachen Archipelago or Dachen Islands or Taizhou Islands , formerly known as Tachen Islands is an archipelago of Jiaojiang District of Taizhou, Zhejiang strategically located in the Gulf of Taizhou, Zhejiang, off the coast of Zhejiang, the People's Republic of China. The archipelago is sandwiched between Zhoushan in the north and the Southern Muntjac Archipelago in the south, and it is located 52 km from Jiaojiang District, which it administratively belongs to. Dachen Archipelago is consisted of a total 29 islands, islets, and rocks, totaling 14.6 square km. It was the capital of Chekiang Province, Republic of China government-in-exile from 1951 to 1955.

Fishing industry had long been the backbone of the local economy and the region was one of the largest of the Chinese class II fisheries. However, after decades of over fishing, the natural resources were depleted and as a result, most of the local population was force to migrate to the mainland in the late-1980’s and the local populace experienced a drastic decrease to a fraction of what it once was. To compensate for the depletion of natural resources, aquaculture has become prosperous and the archipelago is currently one of the largest aquaculture bases in the region. However, due to the adaptation of advanced technology which significantly reduced the need of manual labor, the local population has not recovered to its peak level despite the income generated has already been higher than that of the traditional fishery peak in the past, and in fact, the current local population was not much higher than the lowest point in the late-1980’s.

To diversify the local economy, tourism had become another major source of income. The annual average temperature is 16.7°C, and the climate was the typical subtropical climate. The forest coverage rate is greater than 56% and it is the provincial level forest park. Due to the forces of nature such as that of tides and winds, there are many spectacular sceneries and the archipelago is called the Chinese Number One Oceanic Penjing . Another tourist attraction was the military fortifications left behind by the s during the Chinese Civil War in the post-World War II era, because the archipelago was the site of the Battle of Dachen Archipelago in the First Taiwan Strait Crisis.

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