Proposal for dolphin habitat ruled out by airport officials

Airport officials have ruled out a proposal to create a new dolphin habitat to offset the impact of the new third runway at Hong Kong International Airport.

Speaking to RTHK, Peter Lee, general manager of environment for the Airport Authority's Third Runway Division, said that it would not be possible to build a new habitat for the Chinese White Dolphins in time, but he was hopeful that the dolphins would move to other natural habitats in the Pearl River Delta while construction is underway.

The runway project, which formally kicked off on August 1, is set to take eight years to complete.

In response to concern from environmental groups and the public, the government is pressing forward with plans to designate a specific area off the coast of Lantau for the creation of a marine park, however the project is expected to take seven years to complete.

Figures obtained from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) indicate that, between 2014 and 2015, the Chinese white dolphin population dropped from 87 to 65. According to the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, 45-50 of these dolphins use the footprint of the third runway reclamation site as their main habitat, causing them to be direct victims of the project.

Image: Sea Shepherd

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