Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Legal Implications of the Injured Chinese White Dolphin

On 18 January 2015, Dr. Leszek Karczmarski, Research Scientist and Head of HKU's Cetacean Ecology Lab, issued a press statement drawing attention to "a horrendously injured Chinese White Dolphin...seen off Tai O peninsula".  The case of the Chinese white dolphin seriously injured by a boat two weeks ago and now reported to be dying in Hong Kong waters is a sad indictment of our current laws’ failure to protect wild animals. The Marine Parks and Marine Reserves Regulation (Cap 476A), enacted in 1995, provides only piecemeal protection to marine animals (and habitats) within Hong Kong’s four designated parks. 
Photo taken on 21 Jan 15 by Dr S-L Huang
     Despite recommendations from many researchers, only small areas of Hong Kong’s waters have been designated as marine parks, and even within those areas there is lax control on vessels (several hundred may still enter with permits). Without an extension of legislative safe havens for vulnerable and endangered species and a blanket ban on vessels entering marine parks, regrettable and avoidable incidents such as this will continue.  Written by Amanda Whitfort, who has written a more detailed study of the problem in A Review of Hong Kong's Wild Animal and Plant Protection Laws (2013) (with Andrew Cornish, Rupert Griffiths and Fiona Woodhouse).

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