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May 23, 2012

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Illegal fishing in Yangtze targeted as stocks depleted

BEFORE a fisherman could use his electric shock sticks to stun or kill more fish, his boat was approached by a police patrol ship at the waters of Wusongkou, near the mouth of the Yangtze River, and soon officers came onboard.

In the recent crackdown, water police seized three suspects. They will face charges of illegal fishing, said Yu Ming, an officer with the Shanghai branch of the Yangtze River channel police.

Using electric shock devices for fishing, which is illegal because it's highly detrimental to the shrinking fish resources, is rampant at the mouth of the Yangtze even during the ongoing closed fishing season, local water and fish authorities said. The fishermen can face criminal charges and fines of up to 50,000 yuan (US$7,900) in serious cases if they're found employing such illegal methods as poisoning fish or using electric shock sticks.

The electric shock device rose to the public's attention after it was used in the deaths of Yangtze River dolphins, an endangered species, at neighboring Dongting Lake.

The illegal measures severely affect and damage the whole ecological chain in the water, say fish experts.


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