$8m project for finless porpoise gets go-ahead

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 November, 1997, 12:00am

A study into the elusive finless porpoise will start early next year after the Government in principle approved an $8 million research project.

The Chinese white dolphin has a dorsal fin, which pokes out of the water and is easy to see, but finding the finless porpoise is more difficult.

To spot them, the two-year survey will use acoustic equipment for listening underwater to the porpoises' 'clicks'.

Agriculture and Fisheries Department marine parks officer, Dick Choi Kwong-chuen, said the project could take two years because the porpoises were so difficult to spot.

'They are dark grey and shy,' he said. 'The finless porpoise is more difficult to study than the Chinese white dolphin. The white dolphin is called the beginner's dolphin as it is so easy to spot.' Finless porpoises spend part of the year south of Lamma and then migrate to waters off Sai Kung.

Early next year, the department will invite consultants, colleges and academics to submit proposals for the study after the Finance Bureau confirms the funds.

Mr Choi said Hong Kong's finless porpoises had not been widely studied. 'We don't know whether there are hundreds or dozens,' he said.