Shark Sightings in Sai Kung

On the 28th of June a 3-metre shark was spotted near Basalt Island in Sai Kung. A WhatsApp video was subsequently shared in a WhatsApp group then widely circulated.

In the late afternoon a crew member on a boat captured a picture of the shark in Sai Kung. Swimmers were then warned not to swim outside the netted area in Sai Kung.

WWF Senior Conservation Director (Sustainable Development) Lai said that the black shark appeared in the clip usually appears alone. Similar species are commonly found in the Indian Pacific, Australia, Japan, and in Hong Kong.

In the past two months, the people of Hong Kong have discovered another shark called Scoliodon sorrakowah which is more common in Hong Kong. Generally, they will appear in a group, but they are not aggressive. Lai reminded the public that if they see a shark while swimming, they should pay attention to the direction of the shark and then slowly swim away. The shark will not actively attack people, but if it feels attacked or threatened, it will turn hostile.

The next day – on the 29th – a group of fisherman caught a 1m shark near High Island Reservoir which managed to get away before the fisherman could release the hook. The below video was widely shared.

The shark appears to be a species of reef shark – probably a grey reef shark.

Seven Green Sea Turtles Released Back to the Sea

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) released seven green turtles in the southern waters of Hong Kong today on the 22nd of June 22.

Three of the green turtles were seized by the AFCD in previous operations, while another four were rescued in the waters near Yung Shue Au, Tai Long Sai Wan and Wu Kai Sha. The seven turtles were temporarily housed at Ocean Park Hong Kong (OPHK) where they were assessed and monitored by vets.

Their weights at the time of release ranged from 7 to 48 kilograms, and the lengths of their carapaces ranged from 39 to 76 cm.

Before their release the turtles were tagged and fitted with microchips and Inconel tags for future identification. A satellite transmitter was attached to the carapace of each of the turtles. By tracking the movement and feeding grounds of green turtles in the sea, the AFCD will collect data to support appropriate conservation measures and will share its findings with other conservation authorities for better conservation of green turtles.

Members of the public are urged to report any sighting of sea turtles or suspected irregularities involving sea turtles to the AFCD on 1823.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) released seven green turtles in the southern waters of Hong Kong today (June 22). Photo shows one of the green turtles, seized by the AFCD in an enforcement operation, being released to the sea.
Photo from AFCD press release

Dead Dolphin Found Off Lamms Island

The dead body of a locally rare Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis), known locally as Pink Dolphin, has been found floating in waters off Lamma Island and was collected by Hong Kong Ocean Park Conservation Fund for an autopsy.

The dolphin is believed to be 1 year old and is about 115 cm in length.

Shark Pup Found Dead the at Golden Beach in Tuen Mun

On the 2nd of June a lifeguard at Golden Beach in Tuen Mun spotted a fish resembling a shark.

On the 3rd of June a 30-cm long dead shark pup was found outside the shark prevention net. The carcass was subsequently returned to the sea.

Rare Leatherback Turtle Eashes Up at Sai King

On Saturday the 2nd of May a large leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was found dead in the water near Sai Kung Pier. The City University’s Marine Animal Imaging Anatomy Research Group identified the body.

The leatherback turtle is very rare in Hong Kong and is largest among the seven existing species of turtles, and can grow up to three metres in adulthood.

Adult leatherbacks can have a carapace length of over 97 cm. The length of the turtle under investigation was less, so it was assumed to be an immature.

Unlike other turtles, the leatherback does not have a hard carapace. The shell is made of a layer of a leathery skin, which is relatively soft and has seven obvious ridges. It also has thousands of small bone plates that strengthen the carapace. The leatherback can live in waters up to 1000 metres deep.

At the moment there is no indication of why it was in Hong Kong waters or how it died.

Large pod of false killer whales spotted in the Victoria Harbour (a new internet media platform of Legion Holdings Ltd) and SCMP reported that on the afternoon of the 17th January 2020, 50-100 False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) were spotted swimming in Hong Kong harbour towards Hong Kong West. The last time a large group of dolphins were seen was in February 2014 where around 100 of them appeared near Lantau North.

The Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society advised the public not to approach and allow them to safely leave Hong Kong waters.

False killer whales are social animals that occur globally in tropical and subtropical ocean regions. While generally living in deep offshore waters, they occasionally stray into shallow coastal areas. Their whole body is black to dark gray, sometimes with paler areas on the underside or between the flippers or sides of the head. They can reach 6 m in length and 2.2 tons in weight.

They are prone to beaching in large groups – perhaps because the noise we humans make underwater messes with their navigation.

Sea Turtle Swims into Marine Construction Site

Yesterday by a chance look of a balcony I spotted a sea turtle swimming around the shallow edges of the inside Discovery Bay Marina. About 40 cm long it was circling around the 3 construction barges and 3 jack-up drill platforms. Discovery Bay Marina is empty of boats and floating pontoon walkways as it being renovated. I was able to observe and take some smartphone photos for about 30 min before darkness set in.

As recommended by the AFCD I immediately tried to report my sighting by calling the government hotline 1823.

Sightings of endangered animals are rare. Let’s hope it was healthy and made it out of the marina again before the tugboats arrived this morning and work started again.

Hong Kong Underwater Video Competition Winner

 Hidden Paradise by 溫 尚 諭 WAN Sheung Yue Alan

Hong Kong Marine Biodiversity Roving Exhibition 2018

The marine environment of Hong Kong comprises of a vast diversity of marine lives. In order to enrich public’s understanding on the rich marine biodiversity in Hong Kong as well as to promote the message of marine conservation in the society, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department organises the Hong Kong Marine Biodiversity Roving Exhibition at five venues between June and December 2018. Through interactive panels and games, display of marine lives models and photo and video galleries etc, this roving exhibition aims to introduce to the public the unique marine environment of Hong Kong, fun facts of some interesting marine species as well as various conservation measures implemented by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. 

Underwater World of Hong Kong Featured in New Stamps of Hong Kong Post Issued July 2019

Hong Kong Post unveiled a series of new postal stamps this week, including a set featuring Hong Kong’s rich marine biodiversity designed by Shirman Lai . Revealing our beautiful underwater world, this six-piece issue aims to promote awareness for marine conservation in the hope of making joint efforts to preserve our precious marine life. For extra fun, the souvenir sheet features fish-shape perforations to match the overall fish silhouette.  Among others the stamp features the Chinese White dolphin, stingrays, corals green sea turtles and jellyfish.

Hong Kong's UNderwater World featured on a 2019 Issue of Postal Stamps