Tuesday, May 25, 2010

COA reply to Petion Letter

Below is the government's response to the many letters of concern that have been sent to the Taiwan authorities. Once again issues are being smoothed over and not addressed. Taiwan's pink dolphins are listed as critically endangered. That's just one step from extinction! Immediate and meaningful action is the only option to save these dolphins from extinction. A classroom and stranding network only have value within a well coordinated effort that involves the meaningful addressing of all the threats faced by the dolphins. The major threats have been identified as:
- reduced river flow into estuaries;
- habitat loss;
- entanglement in fishing gear;
- industrial, agricultural and municipal pollutant discharges; and
- underwater noise.
Unless meaningful action is taken these dolphins will become extinct, soon ! The unique Taiwan pink dolphins were only discovered by science eight years ago. To date there has been a single stranding in September 2009. The dolphin drowned as a result of entanglement in nets. As the dolphin was already dead when discovered it was beyond rescue. NGOs have been running public education and awareness programs for several years. Books and other information has been published and a film has been produced. A classroom and a yet-to-be-needed stranding network are not going to save the Taiwan pink dolphins. Until the issues of habitat loss, pollution, entanglement, underwater noise and the reduced flow of fresh water into estuaries are addressed these dolphins are being driven to certain extinction. After three international workshops attended by local and international experts there is more than sufficient information available for the authorities to make the decisions needed to save these dolphins. Regrettably, it would appear from their letter that they have no intention of doing so.

Save Taiwan's pink dolphins!
May 20, 2010

Dear Sir/Madam,

Your email concerning protection of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis was duly relayed to this Bureau for reply.

Addressing the issue of conserving endangered Sousa chinensis, the National Council for Sustainable Development's Biodiversity Working Group continues its focus on factors threatening the survival of Sousa chinensis, coordinates inter-agency efforts, and monitors future progress. In order to better understand the population, distribution and ecology of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, the Council of Agriculture (COA) has commissioned scholars to carry out projects on habitat survey, food source investigation and monitoring, hot spot assessment, as well as development of comprehensive conservation strategy for the species.

On the public education front, the COA has produced film recordings of the species in both 2008 and 2009. A Sousa chinensis Conservation Classroom was established in Wuci Township of Taichung County in 2009 as well. In addition, the draft plan for "Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin Major Wildlife Habitat" will be scheduled for discussion at the Wildlife Conservation Advisory Committee before the end of 2010. The Fishery Agency will also conduct an assessment to determine whether or not to designate "Fishery Resources Conservation Zone" or "restriction or prohibition of fishing area."

Furthermore, the COA has established Taiwan Cetacean Stranding Network (TCSN) to facilitate speedy response to incidents of injury and stranding of Sousa chinensis. Many issues related to conservation of Sousa chinensis may be difficult to resolve at once. However, government agencies will try their best, and take actions to assure the long term survival of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin in the waters of Taiwan Strait.

Once again, thank you for your concern and suggestions.


Council of Agriculture

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