Chinese White Dolphin - Our work

In order to conserve the Chinese white dolphin population in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Estuary, WWF-Hong Kong is taking conservation actions in a number of areas:
© Samson So
Chinese White Dolphin
© Samson So
Policy Advocacy
  1. WWF-Hong Kong intends to initiate cross-boundary collaboration with mainland authorities on conservation of the Chinese white dolphin. As well, we are advocating for the formulation of a cross-border Chinese white dolphin Conservation Action Plan that encompasses management measures for the entire Pearl River Estuary, including the collaboration among adjacent authorities.
  2. We will urge the Hong Kong Government to implement the designation of Southwest Lantau and Soko Islands Marine Park, an outstanding 2002 proposal to protect the important dolphin habitats. We will also monitor the progress of the designation of The Brothers Islands Marine Park, which is a proposed compensation due to the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
  3. We are advocating for a review the current mechanism in the environmental impact assessment process in Hong Kong. We wish to ensure the assessment of cumulative impacts are fully evaluated and addressed by each project proponent for the future infrastructure projects that may encroach on dolphin habitats.
  4. We are also advocating for a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment for the Hong Kong western waters. This should be conducted by the Government to ensure developments are avoiding ecologically sensitive areas, such as the habitats for the Chinese white dolphins and other species of conservation importance, such as horseshoe crabs and seagrass bed.
  5. We are supporting the introduction of sustainable fisheries management through the Save Our Seas (SOS) campaign. The goal is to reduce the threats of decreasing food supply for marine mammals.
Reducing Impacts from Developments
  1. We are providing comments and suggestions so that potential environmental impacts can be avoided, reduced and mitigated using best practices, in order to ensure any possible impact on the dolphin habitats is kept to the minimum.
  2. We are striving to ensure cumulative impacts from developments in environmentally sensitive areas are adequately addressed.
  3. We will campaign for greater dolphin protection in response to major infrastructure developments.
© Third Institute of Oceanography
Chinese White Dolphin
© Third Institute of Oceanography
Research and seminar
In 2008, WWF Hong Kong partnered with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), organized “2008 Marine Mammal Experts Workshop - A Decade of Management Plans, Conservation Initiatives and Protective Legislation for Chinese White Dolphin”. We brought together a range of national and international Chinese white dolphin experts to review the information collected on the population, gauge the stage of knowledge of the dolphin’s biology and threats, and map out future directions for research.

The panel made 25 recommendations from this workshop. They are now acting as WWF’s roadmap to ultimately contribute to the formulation and implementation of a science-based cross-boundary Chinese white dolphin management plan. A number of research based on several of the recommendations have been completed or are ongoing, including the research started in 2010 in the south of China.

Since early 2010, WWF has been working with two mainland scientific institutes, South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute (SCSFRI) and Third Institute of Oceanography, to conduct a one-year Chinese white dolphin study in the south of China. The study aims to investigate the distribution, abundance and habitat use of the Chinese white dolphin in the western extent of Pearl River Estuary (PRE) areas through vessel surveys. As well, the institutes are interviewing fisherman in order to collect information related to the occurrence of Chinese white dolphins along the coast from PRE to Xiamen.

Information obtained from the survey will help fill in the data gaps in knowledge for the extent of dolphin population in western part of the PRE. This is essential for developing future conservation management. Click here to know the research details.
WWF-Hong Kong's No Go At Soko campaign
© WWF-Hong Kong

Success Story

No Go at Soko Campaign  – In 2006, China Light and Power (CLP) announced plans to build a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Receiving Terminal at South Soko Island, which is one of the most frequently used habitats of the Chinese white dolphin in Hong Kong. WWF engaged in extensive dialogue with the Hong Kong government and launched a campaign to help make the public aware of this threat. Over 20,000 signatures supporting WWF’s petition were submitted during the environmental impact assessment public consultation period. In September 2008, CLP announced its decision to stop the LNG Terminal project at the Soko Islands.