China Releases Over 1 Bln Fish into Yangtze River after Drought
   2011-07-12 20:11:40    Xinhua      Web Editor: liuranran

A total of 1.3 billion fish were released into the Yangtze River on Tuesday as part of a project that will help to restore fishery resources that were affected by a recent drought, according to the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

Species of fish released into the river include black carp, grass carp, chubs and bighead carp. The project will also include the planting of 135,000 mu (9,000 hectares) of aquatic weeds, as well as the dispersal of 21 million shellfish.

The project was launched by the ministry in coordination with the provinces of Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangsu, according to the MOA. The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze run through these five provinces.

Water levels in the middle and lower reaches of the river plunged amid a lingering drought earlier this year, causing significant damage to the river's ecology.

In east China's Anhui Province, 100 million fish were released in nine lakes on Tuesday.

Water levels in the lakes dropped dramatically due to the drought, which severely damaged the region's aquatic resources and caused a loss of 148,000 metric tons of fish, according to the Anhui Fishery Bureau.

In central China's Hubei Province, 300 million fish were released in 34 lakes on the same day. Honghu Lake, the largest in the province, saw its total area shrink to just 4,475 hectares, or 12.6 percent of its normal size, as a result of the drought, sources with the Jingzhou Aquatic Products Bureau said.

The drought led to the loss of about 80 percent of the lake's aquatic plants and 95 percent of its fish, according to the bureau.

Expertss said it will take about 10 years or longer to restore the lake's ecology.

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