Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are to be deployed along China's coastline to undertake remote-sensing marine surveillance.
Local authorities said they could use the high-definition photos to discover illegal land reclamation and sand dredging as well as monitor marine environments along the coast and on islets.
The project also includes the construction of 11 UAV bases run by provincial maritime authorities, according to Yu Qingsong, a division chief of the State Oceanic Administration.
No further details on the scale or the schedule of the project were provided, but Yu noted that at least one drone would be stationed at each base.
A related trial program was launched in late 2011, when China's northeast Liaoning Province successfully took aerial photos with rented drones on a 980-square-km sea area.
A separate test on a drone-based 3D monitoring system was also conducted earlier this year by the maritime authority in east China's Jiangsu Province.