Invitation: International Seminar on the Conservation of the Eastern Taiwan Strait Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin

Matsu’s Fish, (Sousa chinensis, ETS Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins, or the Taiwan White Dolphin1) is an important indicator of the ecological resources of Taiwan’s surrounding oceans. On account of the increasing and severe environmental degradation that has and is occurring in their habitat, this species is facing extinction. Based on the most recent scientific studies done this year only between 60 and 90 Taiwan White Dolphins remain.

The tragic fishnet entanglement and drowning death of one of the animals discovered on the beach in Miaoli County in late September 2009 is but one more reminder of the severe danger of losing this population of animals that have were designated CR, or critically endangered, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in August 2008.

Although the Taiwan government has begun to pay attention to the research that has been done on the Taiwan White Dolphin, however a number of large-scale development projects have been slated for the area in and around the animals’ habitat, projects that constitute a serious danger to the population’s survival. The conservation of the Taiwan’s White Dolphins has been accorded serious attention by the international community of cetacean conservationists and scientists. Ten of the world’s leading experts were in Taiwan from the second through the fifth of November 2009 to hold meetings and produce a manuscript on the Taiwan White Sousa.

This was the third such meeting of these scientists since their first meeting in 2004 following the scientific discovery of the animals along Taiwan’s west coast in 2002.

The primary purpose of this meeting was to discuss the range of ETS Sousa’s critical habitat of the and provide resolutions that can be used by all parties in Taiwan interested in conservation of the animals as an important reference for their work. In addition to being an opportunity for international cetacean conservation scientists to convene, discuss their research and produce a manuscript on the dolphins and their habitat, it also provided a platform and unique opportunity for Taiwan government agencies, academic organizations and civic conservation groups to exchange views on conservation.

The office of Legislator Tien Chiu-Chin, Taiwan Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association and the Taiwan Matsu’s Fish Conservation Union are jointly holding this press conference to invite the members of the international cetacean scientist community to share their preliminary findings and to issue a declaration concerning the conservation of the ETS Humpback Dolphin. Taiwan’s Forestry Bureau has kindly provided complimentary copies of its recently completed film on the Taiwan White Dolphins. All media and those with an interest in conservation are invited.

Sponsor: Office of Legislator Tien Chiu-Chin, Taiwan Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan Matsu’s Fish Conservation Union

Time: 6 November 2009, 10 am

Venue: Room 202 of the Hung Bldg. Legislative Yuan (please enter through the main entrance on Chung Shan S. Rd. No. 1 (Jhongshan S. Rd.)

Program: 0940 arrival; 1000 opening by Legislator Tien and introduction of guests; 1010 report on the manuscript proceedings; 1020 update on Miaoli stranding; 1030 Forestry Bureau’s conservation efforts; 1040 Declaration and signing; 1050-1200 dialog among local and international conservation interests

Contact information: GAN, Chen-yi (Ah Gan) 0982-225613