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May 10, 2012

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Giant, hurt fish being treated

AN injured Chinese sturgeon, widely known as a living fossil and "panda on water," was mistakenly caught by local fishermen at the mouth of the Yangtze River yesterday, said officials from the Shanghai Yangtze Estuary Nature Reserve for the Chinese Sturgeon.

The giant fish, weighing 232 kilograms and measuring 3 meters long, is receiving treatment at a Chinese sturgeon protection center in the city's suburban Jiading District, local authorities said.

Wu Kai, an official with the estuary reserve group, said the fish mistakenly fell into a fishing net around 11am, and local fishermen found it was already injured.

The Chongming County fisheries administration sent out ships immediately to bring the sturgeon to the Chongming station of the protection center for first aid.

Initial examination showed that the fish, about 30 years old, had multiple injuries on its belly, back, neck and tail, and its gill was broken - probably by a propeller before it hit the net.

Protection center staffers said the fish had been injured several times so that it had no strength to get rid of the net when it was stuck in it. Wu said the fish's condition remained uncertain pending further examination.

An endangered species in China, the Chinese sturgeon is one of the world's largest among 27 sturgeon species. It lived with the dinosaurs 140 million years ago and can grow as long as 5 meters and weigh 450 kilograms. It's the largest animal in the Yangtze, the world's third-longest river.

Last year, a critically injured Chinese sturgeon was also mistakenly caught by a fishing net near Sheshan Island at the mouth of the Yangtze.

The 2.48-meter-long fish was sent to the protection station in Chongming and eventually survived its wounds after 27 days of treatment, officials said.


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