Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Group urges government to save Datan algae reefs

RICH ECOSYSTEM:The reefs are home to hammerhead sharks, as well two other types of shark, and a large number of fish under the genus ‘Gymnothorax,’ researchers found

By Yang Mien-chieh and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Two endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks are pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo: CNA

A group of researchers yesterday urged the government to protect the algae reefs off the coast of Taoyuan’s Datan Borough (大潭), where endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks have been spotted.

The development of CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC) Guantang Industrial Park (觀塘工業區) as well as plans to build an industrial port and a third liquefied natural gas terminal could threaten the reef’s habitat, Academia Sinica Biodiversity Research Center (BRCAS) deputy director Tang Sen-lin (湯森林) told a news conference in Taipei.

The lack of information on the ecosystem and biodiversity of the reefs were brought to light after the discovery of the endangered Polycyanthus chiashanensis in the area on June 8 last year, he said.

Academics suggested conducting research to provide the government and CPC with correct information through which the controversy over whether to develop the area could be resolved, Tang said.

Funded by Academia Sinica and the Forestry Bureau, a team of experts in March began a 10-month study of the area’s ecosystem, biodiversity, water and social economy, he added.

They found many scalloped hammerhead sharks, at least two other types of sharks and large numbers of fish under the genus Gymnothorax, Lin said, adding that this shows that the reef has a very healthy ecosystem.

The scalloped hammerhead shark, or Sphyrna lewini, has been classified as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Other researchers who attended the news conference included BRCAS research fellow Allen Chen (陳昭倫), National Taipei University Center for General Education assistant professor Chen Shiang-fan (陳湘繁), Tunghai University Department of Life Science distinguished professor Lin Hui-chen (林惠真) and Tunghai University Department of Life Science assistant professor Colin Wen (溫國彰).

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