Hong Kong Underwater Photo & Video Competition Winners 2016 Announced

The Hong Kong Underwater Photo and Video Competition 2016, jointly organised by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and Hong Kong Underwater Association, announced its winning entries.

The Hong Kong Underwater Photo and Video Competition, in its 5th year now, received 443 entries this year, featuring marine ecology, habitats and marine life in Hong Kong waters.

An AFCD spokesman said, “Entries over the years have showcased the beauty of marine life and habitats in Hong Kong waters, and have helped promote the conservation of the marine environment.”

The event comprised a photo competition and a video competition. In the photo competition the categories were Macros/Close-ups and Standard/Wide Angle. In addition to prizes for champions and runners-up in each group, there were Special Prizes for Junior Underwater Photographers presented by the judging panel to encourage less experienced underwater photographers to participate in the competition.

Macro/Close-up Category Winner: Vania KAM
Macro/Close-up Category 1st runner-up: AU Wai Chi
Macro/Close-up Category: 2nd runner-up: Thomas LAM
Macro/Close-up Category Junior Underwater Photographer Winner: SO Chun Fung
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Thomas LAM
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Thomas LAM
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Tang Wai Chung
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Vania KAM
Macro/Close-up Category Merity Award: Tang Wai Chung
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Vania KAM
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Wan Sheung Yue
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Lau Pong Wing Atim
Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: LEUNG Yu Yick



Macro/Close-up Category Merit Award: Leung Wun Cheung
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Winner: Yu Wing Chung
Standard/Wide-Angle Category 1st runner-up: Wan Sheung Yue
Standard/Wide-Angle Category 2nd runner-up: Thomas LAM
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Junior Underwater Photographer Prize: SO Chun Fung
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Thomas LAM
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Ho Tsz Hung
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Markus Klemmer
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Vania KAM
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Lau Man Chi Vanessa
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Lo Wai Yip Derek
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Poon Yiu Nam David
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Yu Wing Chung
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Poon Yiu Nam David
Standard/Wide-Angle Category Merit Award: Lau Pong Wing Atim

I have added the winning video entries to this Youtube playlist. The winning photos as well as the video entries can also be found on the AFCD Chinese page for the competition and the competitions Facebook page.

Beautiful But Deadly – The Textile Coneshell

The venomous Conus textile is one of the most abundant and widespread cone shell in Hong Kong waters. Easily recognized by the tent-shaped markings on the orange-colored cone-shaped shell with wavy chocolates lines, you are advised to stay away from these beautiful but dangerous reef predators. They like to hide in sandy patches under rocks and  also occurs widely throughout the Info-Pacific and grow to a maximum of 15cm shell length. The danger they pose comes from a tiny venom-laden harpoon they can fire from their proboscis. They normally use this to hunt other sea snails by injection them with conotoxin through the harpoon-like needle teeth they can fire out of their proboscis. They can reach around to any point on their shell with this proboscis, and several human death have resulted from handling.

To see exactly how subtle and fast the venom injection is, I recommend this clip from YouTube of a textile cone in a tank hunting down a prey snail. The prey snail in the clip has actually sealed itself into its shell and shut the opening with a special door called an operculum – but apparently to no avail!


Four new Reef Fish Species for Hong Kong

A study by Allen W.L. Lo and Stanley K.H. Shea published recently in Msrine Biodiversity Records, has found 4 species of reef fish not previously known from Hong Kong waters. They also conclude that these 4 species are not introduced. So here is a welcome list of Hong Kong’s newest residents:

Ambyleleottis japonica

A Goby that grows to only 8.5 cm length and lives near the bottom and about which very little is known.

picture by J.E. Randall via Fishbase


Halichoeres hartzfeldii – the Goldstripe Wrasse

A reef living wrasse of the Western Pacific that grows up to 18cm in length.

picture by J.E. Randall via Fishbase


anthigaster papua – the Papuan Toby

A pufferfish species from the West Pacific that grows to 10cm.

picture by J. Bednarzik via Fishbase


Parapriacanthus sp. – a species of Sweeper

The authors of the paper did not identify it to species so this is just a placeholder.

Parapriacanthus ransonnetti via WikiCommons

AFCD Seized 36 Live Sea Turtles from Lamma

The AFCD seized 36 live sea turtles from a fish raft at Sok Kwu Wan Fish Culture Zone on Friday (September 30).
Upon receipt of a report of sea turtles found on the fish raft from the Police, the AFCD officers were deployed to the scene for investigation and they seized 35 green sea turtles and a hawksbill turtle.
All the sea turtles were sent to Ocean Park Hong Kong for observation and detailed veterinary assessment and follow-up investigation by the AFCD is ongoing.

To report suspected irregularities, call the government hotline at 1823.

The Black-naped and the Roseate Tern

I never had an interest in birds, but since I saw a white-bellied sea eagle near Shek Kwu Chau I have become interested at least in the big raptors. But there are also a lot of seabirds that form part of the ocean ecosystems even in Hong Kong.
And on a recent ferry ride in South Lantau I was treated to a great spectacle of 2 beautiful species of seabirds, the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) and the Black-naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana).

I only had my smartphone with me so I shot this slow-mo footage of the terns ducking and diving behind the ferry and occassionaly plunge-diving into the water at high speed and then flying up again with small fish in their beaks.

Along for the ferry ride were three birders with huge telezoom cameras and I thought at the time “I bet these guys are with the HK Bird Watching Society. I must check their forum page later to see if they post the images…” – I haven;t found them yet, but in the meantime I found these stunning images on th HKBWS Forum which are well worth a look.

The Black-naped Tern has white forehead and crown with black nape extending through the eyes. It is an oceanic bird mostly found in tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and rarely found inland. It frequents small offshore islands, reeds, sand spits and rocky cays, feeding in atoll lagoons and close inshore over breakers, but sometimes also far out at sea. The diet is mainly small fish and they will almost always forage singly by shallow plunge-diving or surface-diving. The breeding season varies depending on locality, usually forming small colonies of 5 to 20 pairs, but sometimes up to 200 pairs. Colonies are often formed on unlined depression in the sand or in gravel pockets on coral banks close to the high tide line. In Hong Kong It can be seen over the sea and aroundcoastal areas in the summer.

The Roseate Tern has white underparts with pink, red bill and legs. It is a cosmopolitan species occurring all the way from the Atlantic coast of Ireland to Australia, although it is split into 3 races by geographical areas. In Hong Kong it can be seen over the sea and around coastal areas of northeastern and southern waters in the summer. According to the WWF, the Roseate Tern is now a rare visitor to Hong Kong with only 10-20 terns coming to Hong Kong, so it seems I was quite lucky to see some of them!

During the summer months from May to September, the Roseate Tern, the Black-naped Tern and the Bridled Tern regularly come to breed on the small and remote rocky islands in eastern and southern of Hong Kong waters. In the last 10 years between 2001 and 2010, summer population of the 3 tern species at these breeding sites ranged at 270 to 990, or 570 on average.

There are a lot of keen bird-watchers in Hong Kong, so there is no shortage of information and photographs of terns in Hong kong on the web, so if you are interested in finding out more about these birds, have a look at:

Turtles Returned to Sea

On Friday (12/8/16) the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) released three juvenile green turtles in the southeastern waters of Hong Kong.
The green turtles were found by members of the public at Pak Lap Beach and Silverstrand Beach in Sai Kung and a refuse collection depot on Tin Hau Temple Street in North Point between January 2014 and July this year.

After an initial check-up by the AFCD, the turtles were taken to Ocean Park Hong Kong (OPHK) for a thorough veterinary assessment and necessary medical treatment. Since then, they have been looked after at OPHK.

The three green turtles weighed 8.6 kg to 34.5 kg and measured about 45 cm to 66 cm in shell length. All of the turtles were in good condition and ready to be returned to sea.

Before the turtles were released into the sea, the AFCD tagged each of them with a microchip and Inconel tags for future identification. Satellite transmitters were also attached to their shells. By tracking the oceanic movement and feeding grounds of green turtles, 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.

The green turtle is a globally endangered species. Members of the public are urged to report any sighting of sea turtles to the department via the government hotline 1823 to help protect them.

Another Dead Spadenose Shark Found

Another dead shark was found in Hong Kong waters over the weekend, just days after a dead dolphin and shark washed up on two separate Tuen Mun beaches.

It is believed that the two sharks are of the same, or related, shark species.

At 5:45pm on Saturday, a swimmer told lifeguards at Butterfly Beach about what he thought was a shark carcass floating near the shore.

Around six or seven lifeguards then went into the water, finding and retrieving a dead 36-centimetre-long spadenose shark.

Appreciating Hong Kong's Rich Marine Life

%d bloggers like this: