The following photos document a land reclamation project in known Humpback Dolphin habitat at the Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) Plant at Mailiao, Yunlin County. Photos A & B show humpback dolphins in the waters off the FPG plant in the summer of 2007. In photo A the reclamation work is just starting and earth-moving machinery is clearly visible on the shore. The dolphin is between the two pink arrowheads. It should be noted that the FPG Plant is largely built on reclaimed land. The construction of the plant radically changed and destroyed much of the Jhoushuei River estuary. The Jhoushuei River is Taiwan's largest river. Interviews with local fishermen show that before the construction of the plant dolphins where frequently seen in the area where the plant now stands. It should also be noted that the plant was completed two years before Taiwan's first ever democratic elections in 1996 so the environmental impact assessments, if one can even refer to them as that, were done by an autocratic one party regime.
Humpback Dolphins have been documented by international scientists in the waters around the FPG Plant. Developers denied the existence of the dolphins within the area. Environmental lawyer Robin Winkler was even assaulted during a meeting at the Environmental Protection Administration offices in November 2007 by the Yunlin County Assembly Speaker when pro-development supporters denied the existence of the dolphins around the FPG Plant. Since that time even FPG's scientists have had to acknowledge observing dolphins in the waters around the plant. Despite this reclamation continues.
Valuable known habitat for these critically endangered dolphins is being lost at an alarming rate. It seems that FPG is determined to drive what is arguably the most endangered dolphin population on the planet from the Jhoushuei River estuary. With little habitat remaining elsewhere and development projects all along the west coast there is nowhere else for the dolphins to go other than over the edge into extinction.
Click on a photo to enlarge it !
Photo A shows a humpback dolphin in the waters off the FPG plant in the summer of 2007 (photo courtesy of FormosaCetus).
Photo B shows photo grabs from a video filmed off the FPG plant (video courtesy of FormosaCetus) in the summer of 2007. Note the coast guard tower in the photos. The tower is visible in many of the photos below. Click here to watch the video clip.
Photo C (2007-08-02) shows early construction work for the reclamation project. The photo is of the south sea-wall being constructed. Note the coast guard tower shown in Photo B clearly visible in this photo.
Photo D (2007-09-28) shows the south wall of the the reclamation project. The south sea-wall construction area is now walled off.
Photo E (2008-08-08) shows the south sea-wall roughly eleven months later. The coast guard tower is just visible to the right of the south sea-wall (click on the photo to enlarge it) and the north sea-wall is visible in the left of the photo.
Photo F (2008-08-08) shows the the construction of the north sea-wall. Photo taken from the end of the south sea-wall.
Photo G (2008-08-08) shows boulders being dumped into the sea for the construction of the north sea-wall. Photo taken from the south sea-wall.
Photo H (2008-08-08) shows the the area between the two sea-walls that will be reclaimed.
Photo I (2008-08-08) shows a comparison of Photos A & H. The area where the dolphin was in Photo A is indicated with an orange arrowhead. It clearly shows this area within the area of the two sea-walls.
Photo J (2009-03-05) shows the area to be reclaimed enclosed by sea-walls. The dolphin in Photo A was situated within this area.
Photo K (2009-03-05) shows the view from the shore looking out to where the dolphin in Photo A was. The area is now enclosed within the sea-walls.
Photo L (2009-03-05) shows the south sea-wall at present.
Photo M (2009-03-05) shows the coast guard tower off the end of the south sea-wall.
Photo N (2009-03-05) shows a ship squirting a concrete-grey liquid into the water between the coast guard tower and the end of the south-sea-wall. Any comments on what this ship may be doing would be appreciated.
Photo O (2009-03-05) shows a ship squirting a concrete-grey liquid into the water between the coast guard tower and the end of the south-sea-wall. Any comments on what this ship may be doing would be appreciated.
Update: We've been told the ship was dumping mud dredged from the Mailiao Port entrance channel.
Mailiao Reclamation Site - The Green Area ? (2007)
Pictures from Mailiao (2008)
FPG land reclamation in pink dolphin habitat update (2010)