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  • IHB Joins China’s First Large-scale Systematic Survey on East Asian Finless Porpoise
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    A joint survey expedition on East Asian Finless Porpoise was set out in Qingdao on May 21, 2018.

    A joint survey expedition was set out in Qingdao on May 21 to investigate the population number and distribution pattern of the East Asian finless porpoise in the southern part of the Yellow Sea.    

    The expedition was led by the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute (YSFRI) under China Aquatic Institute. Researchers from Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB) of Chinese Academy of Sciences designed the experimental schemes for the survey and participated in the entire journey.    

    This is the first time that China has conducted a large scale systematic survey on East Asian finless porpoise. There will be three more surveys within this year. Results obtained during this expedition will provide scientific support for the species conservation and population evaluation of the East Asian finless porpoises in the Yellow Sea.   

    Two externally distinct morphological forms of finless porpoises - Indo-Pacific finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) and narrow-ridged species (N. asiaeorientalis) - were recognized. Within the narrow-ridged species, two subspecies are retained- the Yangtze finless porpoise (N. a. asiaeorientalis) and the East Asian finless porpoise or Sunameri (N. a. sunameri). Most of China’s current studies focus on the Yangtze finless porpoise yet few were known about the East Asian finless porpoise.    

    In general, the East Asian finless porpoise usually occurs in a narrow strip of shallow (usually <50m deep) coastal water around the western Pacific Ocean. Some could have been spotted in the rivers. The reproduction pattern of the East Asian finless porpoise is almost the same as human. It takes about 12 months to conceive and can only give birth to one porpoise at a time.    

    Compared with other marine animals, the drastic decline in the East Asian finless porpoise is due to its low reproductive capacity, human activities that interfere with the ecosystems and destroy the habitats.  

    The joint survey expedition, set out in Qingdao on May 21, 2018, was to investigate the population number and distribution pattern of the East Asian finless porpoise in the southern part of the Yellow Sea. 

    (By WANG Zhitao, MA Yun)

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