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April 10, 2013

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Dead fish likely released by Buddhists

THE 250 kilograms of dead fish taken out of waterways in Songjiang District may have been released by Buddhist followers who freed captive animals to celebrate the birth of Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, officials said yesterday.

Songjiang District government said residents in Sijing Town reported that many Buddhist followers released fish into the water on March 30, which was the birthday of Guanyin in the Chinese Lunar calendar.

Officials investigated two major wet markets in Sijing and Dongjing, which are close to the waterways.

"Many people paid several hundred to thousands of yuan to buy fish from the markets at the end of March and released them in nearby waterways. Some even paid 10,000 yuan (US$1,612)," an official said.

Officials suspected the fish died because so many were released together into the water.

The floating fish were first discovered on April 1 by residents strolling along the bank of Sijing Pond and Dongjing Harbor. The district water bureau sent teams to retrieve the dead fish on April 3 after more bodies appeared in abundance in the next few days.

More than 250 kilograms had been taken out by Sunday, officials said, when most of the work was complete.

The district Environmental Protection Bureau said water quality in the area is safe.


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