SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea announced a new plan on Tuesday to protect finless porpoises reportedly dying off the southwestern coast.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will begin looking into the habitats of finless porpoises in the southern region of the west coast and the coastline along South Gyeongsang Province to collect baseline data.
In addition, to prevent incidental catch, in which finless porpoises are caught in fishing nets intended for other fish, the ministry will distribute a new escape device developed last year to 63 stow net fishing vessels in April, and to other vessels operating on the coast or in coastal seas.
To ensure that incidentally caught porpoises are swiftly rescued, treated, and returned to the sea, the ministry will support the activities of 11 animal rescue and medical agencies across the country and set related standards.
Finless porpoises, also known as “smiling whales” in South Korea, live in a small habitat in East Asian seas, most of which are found in the country’s West Sea.
Incidental catch and pollution have drastically reduced the porpoise population, going from 36,000 in 2004 to 17,000 in 2016.
An average of 1,100 finless porpoises died each year between 2015 and 2019, 82.6 percent of which were caused by incidental catch.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)