Central China’s Hubei Province will permanently ban fishing in 83 nature reserves in the Yangtze basin this year to restore the ecosystem of the river. The ban has already been implemented on 10 aquatic nature reserves as of Jan. 1, and the others will be added by the end of 2018, according to provincial fisheries department…Full Article: Xinhua Jan 2018

Key Point

  • In 2003, China began imposing a yearly three-month fishing ban on the Yangtze River. In 2015, this ban was extended to four months.

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  • In November 2017, China announced that wetlands along the Yangtze River would receive more protection and financial support. China has approximately 53.6 million hectares of wetlands, with the Yangtze River area accounts for ~20% (~10.7 million ha) of this total. An incremental fishing ban would also be instituted on 332 nature reserves along China’s Yangtze River starting in January 2018. At the time, less than 100,000 MTs of fish were caught annually in the Yangtze River. In addition, the Chinese paddlefish [Psephurus gladius] and white-flag dolphins [Lipotes vexillifer] are believed to be extinct, while the Chinese sturgeon [Acipenser sinensis] and finless porpoise are critically endangered.
  • In May 2017, China began its summer fishing ban. The fishing ban was expanded in January to include the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the areas located 12 degrees north latitude of the South China Sea. The ban will be lifted on September 1st.
  • In January 2017, China announced plans to reduce its marine fish catch to less than 10 million MTs by 2020. China expanded the scope of its seasonal fishing ban. The ban now included the waters in the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the areas located 12 degrees north latitude of the South China Sea. The ban will also not be lifted until September 1st and 16th depending on the area. From 2016 to 2020, China will reportedly allocate CNY 7.5 billion (~US$1.1 billion) to subsidize fishermen and promote non-marine fishing (i.e. fish farming and recreational fishing).
  • In August 2016, China’s Minister of Agriculture announced it would curtail its fishing fleet owing to overfishing. According to the minister, China typically catches 8 million to 9 million MTs of fish per year, but catches have totaled approximately 13 million MTs over the past few years. Additionally, in rivers, China’s top four fish species have seen their egg laying decrease from 30 billion to under 1 billion. Accordingly, China has issued recommendations that Hainan Island maintain its current fishing fleet size, while certain other provinces decrease their fleet size by 3%.
  • In August 2015, a three-month long seasonal fishing ban was lifted. The seasonal ban is imposed annually in waters located due south of 26.5 degrees north latitude (i.e. Fujian, Guangdong, etc.).
  • The Pearl River has had seasonal fishing bans since 2011, while the Yangtze River area has been under a seasonal ban since 2002. The Pearl River ban affects ~115,000 fishermen as the river (China’s third-longest) runs more than 5,300 km and has over 1,300 sq. km of lakes.
  • The Yangtze River, aptly named the “The Long River” in Chinese, is Asia’s longest river and the third largest overall after the Nile and Amazon rivers. The Yangtze River basin is comparatively well irrigated and contributes nearly one-half of China’s crop production, including more than two-thirds of the total volume of rice. Among the other crops grown are cotton, wheat, barley, corn, and beans.

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