On the 29th of June the government gazetted a proposed plan for artificial reefs to be built inside the Brothers Marine Park, to improve the habitat and boost fish numbers. The artificial reefs will cover around 0.7 hectares inside the 66-hectare marine park off Lantau to the east of the airport.
The works are tentatively scheduled to start at the end of 2018 and should be completed by 2019.
The marine park has been identified as an important habitat for endangered Chinese White Dolphins, and a spawning ground for commercially important fish species.
A dolphin concern group published on its social media page that one chinese white dolphin (Sousa chinensis) and four finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides) were found stranded between Saturday the 17th and Monday the 19th of February. Autopsy scans found food remains in the dolphins, showing they were not starved to death. However, they showed multiple fractures. It is feared they were hit by motorboats as they had injuries on their heads and necks.
One finless porpoise was almost cut in half by what is thought to have been a boat propeller.
The adult Chinese white dolphin was found stranded at Mo To Chau. It was a 2.5-meter female, at least 10 years old, and with signs of choking, bone fractures and serious bone dislocation. The death of an adult female is a great loss to the species’ population growth, with numbers in Hong Kong down from over 120 some years ago to 47 at present.
In the past three years there have only been 3-4 stranded cetaceans in tyhe months of January and February. This year, more than 10 dead cetaceans have been discovered in the same period.
High-speed boats are always a big threat to dolphins and some might be hit by propellers and never be discovered. The Dolphin Conservation Society of Hong Kong (HKDCS) has urged the government to launch a speed restrictions on boats around dolphin and porpoise habitats or even ban them from entering these areas.
According to the HKDCS only one new-born Chinese white dolphin was recorded last year. With the loss of another adult female dolphin, there is a dwindling chance of recovery of the local population.
Xinhua reported on the 22nd of July (2017) that a rare rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis), named Jiangjiang, was released back to sea earlier this week, two months after it beached itself and was rescued in Guangdong Province.
The 2.2-meter male dolphin was found stranded on the coast of Heisha Bay near the city of Jiangmen (200 km west of Hong Kong) on May 3. It was suffering breathing troubles, according to Yang Naicai, a vet who joined the rescue operation.
Rescuers checked the dolphin’s breathing, gave an injection of antibiotics, and provided food and medicine to help it regain its strength.
The animal was housed in a pool designated for dolphin rescue at the Pearl River Estuary Chinese White Dolphin National Nature Reserve.
“We maintained round the clock monitoring, hoping for a miracle,” said Chen Hailiang, from the reserve.
The dolphin, which weighs around 100 kg, was released back to the sea on Thursday as its physical condition had returned to normal.
Although the rough-toothed dolphin, a national second class protected species, can be found in deep tropical, subtropical and temperate waters around the world, it is a rare visitor to Chinese coastal waters.
In 2014, a rough-toothed dolphin stranded in Guangdong died despite rescue efforts.
A Chinese white dolphin (Sousa chinensis) was found dead on the morning of the 19th of July (2017) floating in the sea near Cheoc Van beach in Coloane.
Local animal rights group Anima (Macau) was alerted to the presence of the deceased animal by a concerned citizen. Anima president, Albano Martins, speculated that the dolphin may have collided with a maritime vessel in the Pearl River Delta estuary.
The Anima president also said that Macau’s Marine and Water Bureau has retrieved the deceased animal and is arranging for the body to be disposed.
Sightings of dead dolphins off the coast of Macau are a relatively rare occurrence, but several have been documented in recent years.
On the morning of the 2nd July (2017), a man fishing at Kat Tsai Wan, off the west coast of Lamma Island, found a 2.5 meter long pink dolphin washed up on the beach. The man told Apple Daily that he could tell from his boat that the animal was dead.
The Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong (OPCFHK) response team visited the site and conducted a necropsy on the beach. The dolphin was an adult female and was carrying an unborn calf at full term.
The male calf measured 1.02 m in length, was also dead. The foundation said in a statement that no net entanglement or evidence of physical trauma was found on either carcasses, and both were severely decomposed.
The OPCFHK team said the mother dolphin’s organs and flesh indicated that she was very healthy prior to her death. The team has took organ, blubber, and tissue samples for further testing, inlcuding for microplastics.