Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SMM Conference, Québec City: Workshop - Critical habitat delineation for critically endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in Taiwan

Amongst the pre-conference workshops for the Society for Marine Mammalogy's 18th Biennial Conference in Québec City, Canada from October 12-16, 2009, the Eastern Taiwan Strait Sousa Technical Advisory Group (ETSSTAWG) will be hosting a full day workshop on October 10 titled Critical habitat delineation for critically endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in Taiwan and representitives of Matsu's Fish Conservation Union (MFCU) will attend.

The main objectives of the workshop are to critically evaluate what is known about small cetacean habitat and to better characterize the principal elements of Critical Habitat for the Eastern Taiwan Strait population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis). The workshop will also evaluate measures of habitat quality so as to establish guiding principles on issues related to biological and chemical pollution, noise and disturbance, fisheries practices, salinity, prey availability and physical alterations to the shoreline.

We at the Matsu's Fish Conservation Union (MFCU) have been lobbying the government and working towards getting remaining Taiwan Humpback Dolphin habitat designated as a protected 'Major Wildlife Habitat.' The MFCU proposal we submitted just over a year ago has been adopted in practice in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and at the two Sousa (Humpback Dolphin) expert meetings in June and July 2009. These meetings were the result of decisions made during the Changgong Power Plant EIA process. While we welcome these positive developments we are still extremely concerned that the government still hasn't designated the 'Major Wildlife Habitat.' We believe that the document that will come out of the workshop will provide an even stronger basis for the government to designate a 'Major Wildlife Habitat' for the IUCN Red-listed critically endangered (CR) Taiwan Humpback Dolphins.

It should be noted that designating a 'Major Wildlife Habitat' doesn't mean that projects can't go ahead or that all human activity must stop, it means that the range is acknowledged and that stakeholders are, therefore, better able to talk about threats and mitigation strategies within that area, and that more EIA work is required (by law) relating to that area.

Also see:
Society for Marine Mammalogy 18th Biennial Conference Québec City, Canada.

Taiwan Humpback Dolphin researcher wins the Leatherwood Award

2009 ETS Sousa Habitat Workshop

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin habitat in Taiwan: Report of an international expert panel convened in Taipei, Nov 2-5 2009

Taiwan's Humpback Dolphins face extinction

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