Sunday, September 30, 2007
Mailiao Reclamation Site - The Green Area ?
Reclamation work in known valuable humpback dolphin habitat at the Mailiao FPG plant in Yunlin County is to create a "Green area" where trees will be planted as part of a green-washing plan. What follows is a brief from a Matsu's Fish Conservation Union humpback dolphin observer at the observation site in Mailiao.
Mailiao, Taiwan 2007-9-28
On Friday morning we spent two hours (8:30-10:40) at Mailiao area P looking for Sousa dolphins. Sea conditions were pretty good but a bank of foggy haze lay just offshore starting in the area around the offshore structure that the dolphins are often seen near in Observation Area P. This made viewing beyond the offshore structure impossible.
Offshore structure. This photo wasn't taken on this trip as the structure was barely visible on Friday
The reclamation area has now been fenced off. One is still able to observe the area from the wall. Conditions aren't good sitting up there. Lots of dust from the work site and the usual factory fumes and clouds of toxic smoke.
In the inshore area between the shore and the offshore structure bordered on the one side by the reclamation project and the other by the Mailiao Harbour breakwater we observed four trammel nets very close to shore.
Flag marker for net
In addition to the trammel nets there are more buoys than on previous visits and the usual sticks, poles and other hazards sticking out of the water.
The usual hazards
With the four trammel nets blocking off the area it was pretty much a certainty that we weren't going to see Sousa dolphin in that area. We held out some hope that either the haze would lift and we would be able to see the waters around the offshore structure or that the dolphins would pass through the small area of obstacle free water between the end of the trammel nets and the offshore structure. We had no such luck. Sousa dolphins in the area pretty much wouldn't have had anywhere to go. With this type of thing going on all along the coast it's really not surprising that these dolphins are in trouble. We could make out the shapes of a lot of small craft traffic through the haze just beyond the offshore structure.
We then moved up the coast looking for other suitable areas for viewing and ended up in the Dacheng Wetland IBA. With the large areas of mudflats we found no place really suitable for onshore viewing other than the area around the coastguard observation tower next to the reclamation site just before the entrance to Mailiao Harbour.
Pictures from Mailiao (2008-09-09)
Photos from Mailiao: more dolphin habitat gone ! (2009-03-06)
FPG land reclamation in pink dolphin habitat update (2010-08-26)