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Tackling twin threats to fish in Yangtze


YANGTZE RIVER long-tailed anchovies, a popular delicacy for residents along the river, have become increasingly scarce and more expensive as a result of overfishing and industrial pollution. Guangming Daily commented on Wednesday:


The scarcity of Yangtze River long-tailed anchovies has led to a spike in the price of anchovy dishes in restaurants, with prices reportedly three times more than they were last year.


It is laudable that the 2017 Government Work Report included ecological recovery of the Yangtze River Economic Belt as a priority task for the government. That should serve as the fundamental cure for the scarcity of the fish, as the deterioration of river environment warrants increased vigilance and more inputs for remedial actions.


Statistics show that the catch for Yangtze River long-tailed anchovies was about 3,750 tons in 1973, 370 tons 10 years later, and less than 100 tons in 2002. And the catch has continued to shrink since then.


The discharge of industrial waste into the Yangtze River and overfishing are the two causes of the declining catch.


More worrying is the fact that it is not just Yangtze River long-tailed anchovies that are becoming scarce. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the four most popular domestic fish, including black carp and grass carp, are all threatened by pollution and overfishing.


The ministry has pledged to introduce a fishing ban in areas of the river that are breeding grounds and to promote sustainable fish farming in the Yangtze River region.


Efficient enforcement to reduce pollution and curb overfishing are urgently needed to realize these goals.

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