CBCGDF Volunteers and Local Departments Jointly Conducted a Five-Day Voyage to Monitor and Investigate the Spotted Seals Conserve in Bohai Bay

In order to further understand the ecological environment of the spotted seal protection and implement feasible protection strategies, the Dalian Environmental Protection Volunteers Association, the volunteers of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) community conservation area for spotted seal at Dalian (CCAfa), and the Dalian Spotted Seal National Nature Reserve Administration, Liaoning Provincial Academy of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, jointly carried out a 5-day survey of ecological monitoring and cruising in the waters around the Bohai Bay and Spotted Seal Reserve.

At 9:30 am on August 28, the research team set sail from Beihai Pier in Lushun. After sailing along 75 degrees northeast for about 30 nautical miles, passing through Huping Island, the volunteers searched the sea surface and found no trace of the spotted seal. Arrived at 12:10 at noon at 39 degrees north latitude, 121 degrees 30 minutes east longitude, and located in the southwest of Jinzhou Bay. The ship stopped for rest and collected water samples.

At 1:20 in the afternoon, the captain worked closely with the two crew members and lifted the spare speedboat on board with a crane and put it on the water. A group of three people from Liaoning Provincial Academy of Marine and Fisheries Sciences took the speedboat to the sea near the Jinzhou Bay Airport. They collected seawater samples from 5 stations. After that, at 3:10 pm, returned to the big ship. Subsequently, began collecting sediments on the sea floor. At 3:35, the anchor was raised, and the group headed to Qiaomai Mountain. In the nearby waters, the person in charge of the survey conducted by Liaoning Provincial Academy of Marine and Fisheries Sciences contacted the fishing boat, took the collected water samples, and sent them to Liaoning Provincial Academy of Marine and Fisheries Sciences for water quality testing.

Near the evening, the transport ship the research team took was moored in the waters near Ant Island, ending the day’s research activities and taking a break. There is the sea area where spotted seals frequently visit. The afterglow of the setting sun dyes the surrounding area of Ant Island into orange red, and the sea was surprisingly calm.

At 5:20 in the morning on August 29, the quiet sea was awakened by the roaring engine. The transport ship that had been quiet for a night lifted anchor and gradually left the anchored waters.

A red sun rose slowly from the east, and it was another bright sunny day. The transport ship slowly approached the sea near the reef on Ant Island. The research team began to observe spotted seals. Some people took up cameras and telescopes to observe and take pictures of nearby islands and reefs.

After observation and photo comparison, a total of three spotted seals were discovered there. Since large ships cannot get too close, it’s judged that there should be about a dozen spotted seals in the waters of nearby islands and reefs. According to Wang from Liaoning Provincial Academy of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, he once photographed more than 80 spotted seals in this sea in winter. He is comparing and identifying the spotted seals photographed and analyzing the database.

At 7:30 in the morning, after having breakfast, the person in charge said: “Our visit to the spotted seals is very expensive. I hope everyone will make good use of this opportunity to conduct sea inspections in groups of two to see if there are finless porpoises, if found, report immediately.”

At 1:10 in the afternoon, the transport ship sailed into waters at 30°C north latitude and 58° east longitude, which was located about 20 nautical miles west of Xianyu Bay. After comparing the captain and team leader Ma, they determined the exact location, then dropped anchor and collected sediment. With the close cooperation of the captain and the team of Liaoning Provincial Academy of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, the sediment collector was used to collect the bottom mud of the 23-meter-deep seabed here twice, in addition, they sorted the collected sediments and sorted out living sea creatures such as shrimps, silkworms, and conch.

During this voyage, volunteer Zou had been observing the sea surface from the stern of the ship, hoping to see spotted seal or finless porpoise, but unfortunately didn’t see it. Sometimes saw giant jellyfish on the water. At night, the transport ship berthed in the waters near Laogudaozi in Wafangdian for rest.

To sum up:

From August 28 to September 1, two China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) volunteers, two from the Dalian Spotted Seal National Nature Reserve Administration, and Liaoning Provincial Academy of Marine and Fisheries Sciences formed a team, set sail from Beihai in Lushun, Liaoning Province, conducted a five-day monitoring and patrol, and the expected tasks were completed according to the plan.

CBCGDF volunteers Zhang Fengxiang and Zou Dexiu were mainly responsible for shooting the documentary scenes of the monitoring and patrol and monitoring the sea surface of the voyage to observe whether there were spotted seals and finless porpoises, and assisted in collecting samples.

During this voyage, three spotted seals were found on Ant Island and about 20 spotted seals were found on Huping Island, and they were photographed and recorded.

For this voyage, according to the pre-set station and the V-shaped route, samples of sea water quality, phytoplankton, and water transparency were monitored, and samples were sent for testing in time.

During the five-day scientific research on the ship, everyone took the ship as their home, focused on monitoring, sampling, and patrol investigation. Every day, the anchors were anchored in the early morning and late at night, all the way to the stars and the moon, and the waves were chopped. Not only did they work hard to collect samples, search and observe, but also overcame seasickness and heat, mosquito bites, insufficient conditions on board and other difficulties, the team finally cooperated and fulfilled the task perfectly.

The fly in the ointment is that there is a lack of adequate communication and exchanges during the event, and the actual monitoring of spotted seals takes a little shorter time. It’s hoped that in future patrols, the team can coordinate all the inspection tasks to complete the tasks more effectively and fully.

(Photo credit: CBCGDF volunteers Zhang Fengxiang, Zou Dexiu)

By / Maggie






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