An oil spill reported in the Pearl River estuary close to the Qingzhou Island and Guishan Island has so far not entered Hong Kong waters. A few vessels were either stranded or sank in the wake of typhoon Hato.The Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre was informed of the spill by the Guangdong Search and Rescue Centre. Mainland maritime authorities have undertaken a cleanup and the HK Marine Department has begun patrols southwest of Lantau Island. Aerial surveillance carried out has so far not shown the spilled oil drifting into Hong Kong waters.
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.
The animal was housed in a pool designated for dolphin rescue at the Pearl River Estuary Chinese White Dolphin National Nature 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 29th of June (2017) the AFCD (Agriculture Fisheries & Conservation Department) released 10 green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and one hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the southern waters of Hong Kong.
The turtles were among the 35 green turtles and one hawksbill turtle seized from a fish raft in Sok Kwu Wan Fish Culture Zone (Lamma Island) in September 2016.
The 10 green turtles and the hawksbill turtle weighed from 11.5 kilograms to 61 kg and measured about 45 centimetres to 82cm in carapace length. All of them were assessed by veterinarians of OPHK as being in good condition and ready to be returned to the sea. The other green turtles were already released in November 2016.
Before the turtles were released to the sea, they were tagged with a microchip and Inconel tags for future identification. Satellite transmitters were also attached to the carapaces of the turtles. By tracking the movement and feeding grounds of green turtles in the sea, the AFCD can collect data for formulating appropriate conservation measures and share its findings with other conservation authorities for the better conservation of sea turtles. Satellite tracking revealed that the some of the turtles released in November 2016 headed south to the South China Sea via different routes, reaching Wanshan Archipelago, Dongsha, Nansha and Xisha Islands, Hainan Island and as far as Malaysia.
The green turtle and the hawksbill turtle are globally endangered and critically endangered species respectively. In Hong Kong, all sea turtle species are protected under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance and the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance . Of the five sea turtle species found in Hong Kong waters, the hawksbill turtle is relatively rare and the green turtle is to date the only species known to nest locally.
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.
If you come across this widely shared Facebook post of a highly Benefizspiel, invasive species or released exotic pet called Ocean Mamba spotted at Repulse Bay, you can relax. It’s just an April Fools Joke. No such snake species exists and even it’s scientific name ‘Dendroapsis Oceanum’ is grammatically wrong.
Jobs in Marine Biology are rare and even more so in Hong Kong. So when I saw this one posted, I had to share:
Company: ERM Hong Kong LTD.
Responsibilities:Conduct marine mammal observation/monitoring on construction vessels/ land-base in infrastructure projects
Working Hours: From 7 am to 5:30 pm
Working Location: Lantau Island & Tuen Mun
Training will be provided before the commencement of work
Form 5 graduate or above
Patient, responsible, positive and passionate about ocean
Willing to work outdoor, on shifts and during weekends and public holidays
Experience in observing dolphins is preferred but not a must
Immediately available is preferred
Fresh graduates will also be considered
The minimum of working days for the full-time position will be 18 days per month. For the part-time position, the working days will be 5 to 7 days per month.