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Crackdown on illegal fishing

UNLICENSED eel-fishing vessels have been ordered off the Yangtze River in a three-day campaign to prevent accidents at the river mouth, city maritime police said yesterday.

Maritime officers, with personnel from the city's fishery authority, expelled more than 20 fishing boats and confiscated nets and other equipment yesterday.

Officials said the rush for profits had attracted too many fishermen to the river this year. "We caught about 2,000 baby eels today. Though this year's selling price is down to 1.6 yuan (23 US cents) each, we still have a considerable income as we caught much more than last year," one fisherman said.

Years of excessive catching had led to a decrease in numbers, officials said. Last year, a fishing boat could only catch fewer than 100 baby eels a day on average.

After growing to maturity in fish farms, the eels have a large market in Japan and Europe.

Officials said the number of eel boats had become a threat to shipping around the Yangtze River Bridge.


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