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July 21, 2010

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Yangtze study on fish planned

AN in-depth investigation into local fish resources in the Yangtze River will begin before 2015, officials at the Regional Bureau of the East China Sea Fisheries Management said yesterday.

The authority hasn't conducted such a study since the 1990s, while fish stocks have declined and many species have either disappeared or been endangered, igniting alarm bells about protecting the river's ecology.

Officials said the investigation is such a massive undertaking that it will take seven or eight years to complete.

"The current decline of fish resources reflects the worsening environment in the Yangtze River, which is crucial to people's health and safety," said Ma Yi, deputy director of the Regional Bureau of the East China Sea Fisheries Management.

He also urged the central government to launch a long-term plan to protect aquatic life in the Yangtze.

A week-long program promoting awareness of protecting the Yangtze will begin on Saturday. Typical freshwater fish and Chinese sturgeon, a "living fossil" and endangered fish, will be added to the river to raise awareness of the ecological imbalance in the nation's most vital river.


There are more than 1,100 aquatic species, including 370-odd types of fish, in the Yangtze River. The river's ecosystem represents biodiversity that is a must for human survival and development.

Pollution, the building of dams and overfishing have seriously impacted the river's ecosystem, leading to a decline in fish numbers.

The number of immature fish - popular on local dinner tables - in the river has dropped from 30 billion to about 100 million annually.

"The Yangtze is facing a very stern situation," Ma said. "Although the government has invested billions of yuan on river protection in recent years, current measures are far from enough to control and reverse its deterioration. We have only managed to slow down the speed of damage."


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