TO RAISE awareness of the global, regional and local importance of protecting endangered species in the Yellow Sea, the YSLME Phase II Project Management Office (PMO) co-organized a field visit to the National Marine Protected Area (MPA) for Spotted Seals in Ant Island, Dalian, PR China, on March 29.
This activity is in line with YSLME’s Biodiversity Plan, one of the Project’s targets that seek to create a network of MPAs for endangered migratory mammal and birds, fishing spawning and nursery grounds.
Among the participants were UNDP/GEF YSLME Phase II Project’s delegates from RO Korea and PR China, partner NGOs, UNDP China Energy & Environment Programme Associate Ms. Xinhua Zhao, UNOPS ECR WEC Senior Portfolio Manager Katrin Lichtenberg, midterm evaluator Mr. Steve Raaymakers, and YSLME Phase II Manager and Chief Technical Adviser Mr. Yinfeng Guo.
Ant Island is selected as a demonstration site to strengthen management planning and participation in establishing the Spotted Seal MPA network.
Spotted seals are one of the few marine mammals in the Yellow Sea. They migrate into the Yellow Sea every November and breed on ice during winter in Liaodong Bay, one of the eight major breeding areas in the world.
YSLME aims to establish a regional network to promote exchanges of information in study results on feeding, migration, breeding, monitoring and raising awareness for the conservation of species.
The group of spotted seals hauls out on reefs and beaches of Yellow Sea from March to May. After May, majority of them will leave the coastal area of China, some swim to the west coast of the Korean peninsula and the rest move through Korea Strait to the east coast area of peninsula.
There is no accurate population count at this time, but it is estimated that there are under 2,000. It is under category grade 2 protected animal, the second highest level in the country.
After the field visit, a Spotted Seal MPA seminar was also held in Dalian. The knowledge-sharing activity was organize by China Aquatic Wildlife Association in coordination with the Bureau of Fisheries of Ministry of Agriculture and participated by all Spotted Seal MPA managers in PR China and RO Korea counterparts.