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Abstract: The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is classified as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to the proximity of much of their habitat to areas of intensive anthropogenic activities. In China, S. chinensis mainly distributes in south-eastern coastal waters, especially along the coast of Fujian Province, although most information available for this species is in Xiamen Bay. In this study, we interviewed inshore fishermen along the Fujian coast to collect local ecological knowledge (LEK) of S. chinensis and to explore the historical and current distribution patterns of S. chinensis. In total, 239 experienced inshore fishermen were interviewed at 27 fishing communities. Responses suggested that S. chinensis was distributed widely along the Fujian coast historically (about 30 y ago), and that now, except for Xiamen Bay, there were only sporadic sightings of S. chinensis in Ningde waters, Quanzhou Bay, and Dongshan Gulf by fishermen. Field boat-based surveys conducted in Ningde waters, Quanzhou Bay, and Dongshan Gulf confirmed the existence of S. chinensis in these three regions. S. chinensis in Ningde waters, Quanzhou Bay, and Dongshan Gulf seem to be resident individuals with very small group sizes such that conservation of these groups should be given high priority before they become extinct.
Key Words: Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis, local ecological knowledge, distribution, inshore fishermen interview, coastal waters of Fujian Province
Document Type: Research article
Page Numbers: 341-349