Fish­ing to be banned on Yangtze River and trib­u­taries by 2020

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG KEJU wangkeju@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The State Coun­cil, China’s Cabi­net, has is­sued a guide­line to strengthen the pro­tec­tion of aquatic or­gan­isms in the Yangtze River that in­cludes a year-round ban on all fish­ing in the river by 2020.

Yu Kangzhen, vice-min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture and ru­ral af­fairs, said on Wed­nes­day the guide­line is aimed at in­creas­ing the di­ver­sity of aquatic or­gan­ism species, aid­ing the re­cov­ery of fish re­sources, and im­prov­ing the liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment of aquatic or­gan­isms in the Yangtze.

Ac­cord­ing to the guide­line, fish­ing, apart from fish farm­ing, will be banned in the Yangtze and trib­u­taries and lakes con­nected to it by 2020.

By 2035, the ecol­ogy of the Yangtze will be sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved; the habi­tats of aquatic or­gan­isms will be fully pro­tected; aquatic re­sources will in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly; and its eco­log­i­cal func­tions will be ef­fec­tively re­stored, the guide­line said.

The guide­line also said large amounts of fish fry are ex­pected to be re­leased into the river, with types and num­bers cho­sen sci­en­tif­i­cally, to help re­plen­ish the river’s aquatic stocks.

“It is strictly for­bid­den to re­lease alien species, ar­ti­fi­cial hy­brids or ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied species into the wa­ter to pre­vent in­va­sion of alien species and pol­lu­tion of germ plasm re­sources,” said Ma Yi, di­rec­tor of the Fish­ery Su­per­vi­sion and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Of­fice of the Yangtze River Basin.

Yu noted that, “The num­ber of Yangtze fin­less por­poises has fallen sharply, and the cur­rent num­ber is only half that of gi­ant pan­das.”

The Zhen­jiang Fin­less Por­poise Re­serve in Jiangsu prov­ince is an im­por­tant habi­tat for pro­tect­ing the Yangtze fin­less por­poise, a se­verely en­dan­gered aquatic mam­mal. But an in­spec­tion by the Min­istry of Ecol­ogy and En­vi­ron­ment in June found 467 hectares of il­le­gal agri­cul­tural cul­ti­va­tion and fish­eries in the pro­tected area, which dam­aged large ar­eas of wet­lands and harmed their eco­log­i­cal func­tions.

The guide­line said it is im­por­tant to en­hance the pro­tec­tion of the Yangtze fin­less por­poise, and pro­mote “off-site” con­ser­va­tion projects in the mid­dle and lower reaches of the river. A gene bank of im­por­tant aquatic species will also be built to strengthen ge­netic re­search on rare and en­dan­gered species. Ge­netic tech­niques to res­ur­rect re­cently ex­tinct aquatic or­gan­isms will also be en­cour­aged.

Ma Jun, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Pub­lic and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, said: “The Yangtze — the long­est river in Asia — is an im­por­tant eco­nomic life­line for mil­lions of Chi­nese peo­ple. Ex­pe­ri­ence gained there can be of ben­e­fit in build­ing an eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment in other places.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

An in­mate helps an el­derly pris­oner get dressed at Shang­hai Nan­hui Prison.

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