Tack­ling twin threats to fish in Yangtze

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

long-tailed an­chovies, a pop­u­lar del­i­cacy for res­i­dents along the river, have be­come in­creas­ingly scarce and more ex­pen­sive as a re­sult of over­fish­ing and industrial pol­lu­tion. Guang­ming Daily com­mented onWed­nes­day:

The scarcity of Yangtze River long-tailed an­chovies has led to a spike in the price of an­chovy dishes in restau­rants, with prices re­port­edly three times more than they were last year.

It is laud­able that the 2017 Govern­men­tWork Re­port in­cluded eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery of the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt as a pri­or­ity task for the gov­ern­ment. That should serve as the fun­da­men­tal cure for the scarcity of the fish, as the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of river en­vi­ron­ment war­rants in­creased vig­i­lance and more in­puts for re­me­dial ac­tions.

Sta­tis­tics show that the catch for Yangtze River long­tailed an­chovies was about 3,750 tons in 1973, 370 tons 10 years later, and less than 100 tons in 2002. And the catch has con­tin­ued to shrink since then.

The dis­charge of industrial waste into the Yangtze River and over­fish­ing are the two causes of the de­clin­ing catch.

More wor­ry­ing is the fact that it is not just Yangtze River long-tailed an­chovies that are be­com­ing scarce. Ac­cord­ing to theMin­istry of Agri­cul­ture, the four most pop­u­lar do­mes­tic fish, in­clud­ing black carp and grass carp, are all threat­ened by pol­lu­tion and over­fish­ing.

The min­istry has pledged to in­tro­duce a fish­ing ban in ar­eas of the river that are breed­ing grounds and to pro­mote sus­tain­able fish farm­ing in the Yangtze River re­gion.

Ef­fi­cient en­force­ment to re­duce pol­lu­tion and curb over­fish­ing are ur­gently needed to re­al­ize these goals.

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