Leizhou Peninsula in South China Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features striking patterns in the water surrounding the Leizhou Peninsula.
The peninsula is located in the southernmost portion of mainland China, and extends into the South China Sea.
Xiaochuan Ma, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, explained that the color of the water could be the result of suspended sediment and a high concentration of phytoplankton – a result of the region’s ecological conditions and eutrophication of its waters. Ma noted that phytoplankton can be abundant around the equipment deployed by fishermen.
Hepu National Sanctuary of Dugongs was created west of the peninsula to protect endangered wildlife especially marine mammals. Vicinity to the peninsula, such as the Leizhou Bay has declared to be parts of the Chinese white dolphin sanctuary holding the second largest population in the nation. Dugongs still occur in small number. Some Bryde’s whales, minke whales, and whale sharks still occur in the adjacent waters including Hainan Island and Gulf of Tonkin waters such as off Tieshangang District, Islands of Weizhou and Xieyang.
Critically endangered whales such as North Pacific right whales and western gray whales, humpback whales, and blue whales were once known to occur around the peninsula in the winter and spring to calve. Waters such as Wailuo Harbor were ideal habitats for these giants. These whales were heavily hunted and were wiped out by Japanese whalers in this regions. (Japanese whalers established whaling stations at various sites along the Chinese and Korean coasts including on the island of Hainan and at Daya Bay).
One traditional fishing method in China involves pairs of poles anchored into the seabed, with nets running across tens of meters between them. Ma said that the parallel lines off Liusha Bay could be from the water current passing by the poles of this type of fishing arrangement.
The image was captured by January 1, 2021 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory