China has sent its first survey team comprising of Chinese and Russian experts to the Xisha Archipelago in the South China Sea to determine whether female whales give birth in the area.
Approved by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Hainan Provincial marine and fishery department, the 15-member team will observe the sea area near Xisha Archipelago for 10 days.
Wiilst the study will particularly target the grey whale, the survey team will also be keeping an eye on other whale species.
The grey whale is the only species living and reproducing in shallow waters along the coast. Due to mass hunting, it is estimated that the number of grey whales in the world has dropped to no more than 100, Xinhua news agency reported.
Protection of grey whale was listed on the agenda of the 56th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the Italian port city of Sorrento last year.
With a long coastline, China is believed to be a major grey whale breeding ground. China had not previously surveyed grey whales, because of a lack of funds and technology, the report said.