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2019 Taiwan Stranding Marine Animals Events Summary

2019 Taiwan Stranding Marine Animals Events Summary

Cetacean Stranding Events
There were 140 cetacean stranding events (150 individuals) in 2019, including 132 dead stranded (88%), 15 live stranded (10%) ,and 3 disorientation (2%). Among live stranded, one was released in situ (6.7%), 3 died immediately after been reported (20%), and 11 died after treatment (73.3%).
Main occurred at Lienchiang (22), Penghu (19), Kinmen (15), Miaoli (13), and Kaohsiung (12). Twenty-two species of cetacean have been identified, and the main species include IndoPacific finless porpoise (43), bottlenose dolphin (30), pygmy killer whale (13). A sampling of 20 species of cetaceans (82 individuals) collected, including 301 samples and 72 specimens. The number of stranded events was the highest in April, which was the massive stranding of pygmy killer whales. There seems to be a higher incidence of cetacean stranding from January to April, and this distribution pattern is similar to previous years. More than half of the stranded cetaceans were too decomposed to collect samples for analysis when they were found, the cause of the stranding could not be determined (51%, 77). The rest can be summarized into two main causes of death: bycatch (22%, 33) and infection (17%, 25).

Sea turtle Stranding Events  
The total number of cases reported in 2019 was 269, including 207 dead stranded (77%), and 62 live stranded (23%). Among live stranded sea turtles, 22 were released in situ (35.5%), 18 were released after rehabilitation (29%), 16 were under continuous medical care (25.8%), and 4 died immediately after been reported (6.5 %), and 2 failed to survive after treatment (3.2%). Main occurred at New Taipei (55), Taitung (45), Penghu (39), and Pingtung (38). The green sea turtle is the main abundant species, accounting for 89.22% (240), followed by 13 hawksbill, eight loggerhead, eight olive ridley, and no leatherback. A sampling of 75 sea turtles and collecting 113 samples. The number of stranding events was the highest in January. The peak period of sea turtle stranding events was from winter to spring. The pattern is similar to previous years. The main causes of live sea turtles rescue were bycatch (47%) and stranding (21%). However, 52% of the bycatch turtles were released after assessment, 27% were released after rehabilitation, and 21% are still in the rescue center. Many times, the cause of death cannot be determined because dead stranded turtles were too decomposed. One hundred eighty-two of them were buried after the essential sample collection and data recorded. By performing necropsies, the leading death causes of the rest 31 sea turtles were parasitic infection (25.8%) and propeller trauma (22.6%). Of the 24 feces containing sea turtles in 2019, 100% were found with artificial objects, which were mainly soft plastics and hard plastic pieces. Besides, after the anatomy of 85 dead sea turtles, 52 of them had artificial objects in the digestive system (61%), and the primary type was plastic threads. In the year 2019, 45 sea turtles were released, including 37 green, 4 olive ridley, and 4 hawksbill. As of December 31, 2019, 41 sea turtles were still in rescue centers. Including 30 green, 5 olive ridley, and 6 hawksbill.

Spokesman: Long-jing, Wu. Deputy Director-General of Ocean Conservation Administration
Contact Person: Xu Zhongli, Head of Marine Environmental Management Section
(+886-7-338-2057 ext. 262301)
Date of issue: September 02, 2019

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  • Update: 2020-02-19
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Ocean Conservation Administration, Ocean Affairs Council