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Large-scale wind farm to be built near HK waters poses threat to the pink dolphins

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A HK$5 billion state-owned wind farm is planned to be built just a few kilometres away from Hong Kong waters and it’s posing another threat to the already endangered pink dolphins, also named Chinese white dolphins.

The wind farm is planned to be built on Sanjiao Mountain Island, not far from the planned marine park on South Lantau and from the Pearl River Estuary Chinese White Dolphin Nature Reserve.

The public hearing on Zhuhai Guishan Wind Farm Project was held by The Administration of Ocean and Fisheries for the Guangdong Province on February 2nd in Guangzhou. They had already announced its approval for the project last November, declaring the project environmentally “feasible,” according to the The Stand News. Experts from the institutions responsible for the environmental impact assessment, representatives from environmental protection NGO (one from the Cross-border Environment Concern Association [CECA]) and representative of the public attended the meeting.

The CECA has raised deep concerns about the proposed wind farm and has called for the project to be “suspended and relocated”. The group pointed to a report by the national oceanic and energy administrations on the construction of offshore wind farms, barring them from being built in protected areas.

According to Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, the Wind Farm will most likely cause a lot of harm to the dolphins. As reported by SCMP, “Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society chairman Dr Samuel Hung Ka-yiu said the project [would affect the viability of the reserve as a safe refuge for the dolphins] and it would add to mounting impacts from construction projects already underway nearby.” As the dolphins are very sound-sensitive, the noisy piling works will most probably affect the life of the dolphins to a great extent.

When complete, the wind farm will be able to generate 26,664 kilowatt hours of power every year. Works will commence once the EIA is approved.

The Chinese White Dolphin population has decreased by more than half in the past 10 years as a result of land reclamation and construction work for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the airport third runway.

The Marine Department has decided to temporarily establish acoustic monitoring stations on the seabed at Lung Kwu Tan (NW New Territories near Tuen Mun) and Siu Ho Wan (N. Lantau) for the next 9 months. The acoustic monitoring stations will collect data on dolphin vocalisations in the area. Regular diving operations for inspecting and retrieving data from the acoustic monitors will be carried out by a work boat in the above locations every month.

Photos courtesy of Cross-border Environment Concern Association


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