The story appears on

Page A5

April 19, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Society

Health warning over creek fish

THE ecological revival of Suzhou Creek is proving of benefit to some local people.

The once fetid and muddy black water is now not only a paradise for fishermen, but also a popular market zone where workers can purchase fresh fish at low prices.

However, a local expert is warning people to think twice before buying and eating the fish, as some areas of Suzhou Creek are still heavily polluted and the fish might be bad for their health, especially if eaten regularly.

The newly built observation deck along the creek on Changning Road was occupied by seven people at the weekend, each using a large home-made fishing net.

At lunch and dinner time, people would gather there to bargain with the "fishermen" for their catches, turning the observation deck into a noisy and crowded market.

But apart from the health issue, there is another problem - both fishing and trading are banned in the area.

However, the lack of "No Fishing" signs and the absence of supervision officials have allowed the illegal business to flourish.

"Why is it illegal?" asked one of the fishermen, a local resident surnamed Chen. "We are making a living with our own hands, not stealing or robbing or begging for money."

Chen pulled up his fishing net three times in 10 minutes and caught six crucian carp, the biggest reaching half a kilogram in weight. Depending on luck, he could catch a full bucket of fish for one day's work, or he might also get nothing with the same effort.

However, Chen's fishing point was beside a waste water outlet. Discarded plastic bags and other garbage could be seen in his net.

"I don't see anything wrong with the fish. The water is clean and the fish is cheap and delicious," said a migrant worker surnamed Zhou who came to buy three of the crucian carp for 10 yuan (US$ 1.46).

But Tang Wenqiao, a professor at Shanghai Ocean University, said fishing in the creek would foul the water quality. And, more importantly, eating the fish could be harmful to health, he said.

"The water quality is merely good enough to keep the fish alive, and still a lot of micro pollutants are absorbed by the fish every day," said Tang, who conducted experiments on the water quality in 2007.

He said excessive fishing could reduce aquatic life and break the ecological balance, thus damaging water quality.

The creek turned black and began to give off a foul smell in the 1920s when industry developed along the waterway. By the late 1970s, the entire creek had been polluted. The cleanup began in 1998 and has eliminated the stench, but its tributaries are still polluted.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend