CHINA 10-year fishing ban starts in key waters of Yangtze River

CHINA

10-year fishing ban starts in key waters of Yangtze River

Xinhua

23:04, January 01, 2021

Law enforcement ships sail on the Wuhan section of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, on Dec. 31, 2020. A ceremony on launching the 10-year fishing ban was held in Wuhan on Thursday. Key areas of the Yangtze River will enter a 10-year fishing ban period, starting from Jan. 1, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

A launch ceremony of the fishing ban in key waters of Yangtze River was held in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province on Thursday.

According to the central government's plan, a complete 10-year fishing ban is imposed in key waters of the Yangtze, China's longest river starting Friday.

In recent years, the province-level regions along the river have been stepping up efforts to protect the "mother river" of the Chinese nation. In 2019, Jiangxi Province, located in the river's middle reaches, set up its first cross-region environmental resources court at the national reserve of Poyang Lake, the country's biggest freshwater lake in the Yangtze River basin.

"We found the number of Coilia nasus in the lake has multiplied compared with that of the previous year in 2020," said Gao Xiaoping, deputy director of the aquatic science research institute of Jiujiang City in Jiangxi.

Hunan Province, also located in the river's middle reaches, has closed and dismantled all 39 illegal wharves along the mainstream of the Yangtze River while restoring the ecological environment there. The province has also planted over 1,300 hectares of forest along the river.

In 2019, the average concentration of total phosphorus in the area of Dongting Lake, China's second-largest freshwater lake in the river's basin, dropped by 41 percent compared with that in 2015. With improving water quality, the lake also saw more than 246,000 wintering waterbirds in the year, the highest number in the past 10 years.

While strictly implementing the fishing ban policy, the regions have already rolled out a slew of measures to take care of the fishermen's welfare. In Hunan, the government helped more than 16,000 fishermen change jobs, over 97 percent of the total who had the intention of employment. All the fishermen who meet the conditions in the province have been included in the basic old-age insurance system.

A third-party assessment agency was introduced to conduct the on-site assessment of fishermen's boats and nets, and a unified compensation fund will ensure their interests, said Wang Yuanbao, an official with the provincial agriculture department.

Shi Zhongfang, a former fisherman in the city of Yuanjiang in Hunan, now runs a restaurant featuring the traditional fish cuisine of fishermen. "The future generations will be benefited from what we are doing now," he said.

"We can find jobs in other places although we cannot fish in the Poyang Lake," said Ye Xin, a fisherman in the township of Wucheng, Jiangxi. "Now the township is promoting tourism, which will bring us more job opportunities."

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