Banned fish cages in China's largest freshwater lake draw fire from netizens

2022-10-27 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download
                               Fish and shrimp cages on the dried bed of Poyang Lake. (Photo/Screenshot)

Fish and shrimp cages on the dried bed of Poyang Lake. (Photo/Screenshot)

(ECNS) -- A video showing rows of fish and shrimp cages on the dried bed of Poyang Lake went viral on Chinese social media, sparking heated debate on how they were under a 10-year local fishing ban.

"In the deepest part of Poyang Lake, we found four fish and shrimp traps. They are so long that we could not even see their edge," said a volunteer in the video.

The mesh cages are often used by local fishermen to snare fish and shrimp.

But China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has set strict limits on the minimum fishing mesh size in water areas to avoid damage to fish resources and local ecology.

But the cages found in Poyang Lake had mesh of only two millimeters, making it difficult for baby fish and shrimp to escape.

Some netizens have called the fishing gear "extinction cages."

Some 100,000 fishermen near the lake had bid farewell to their centuries-old way of life and moved ashore after a 10-year fishing ban was implemented in 2020 at Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater body located in eastern Jiangxi Province.

The owner of these nets remains unknown.

Last Thursday, the local fishery department and water police dispatched officials to investigate and remove the cages, said an official from Jiujiang Agricultural and Rural Bureau.

The official said that the traps were possibly left before 2020 when the fishing ban had not yet taken effect.

Since the implementation of the fishing ban, illegal fishing has been severely cracked down upon and occurs, he added.

Poyang Lake has been viewed as a barometer of the Yangtze River. On Sept. 23, the lake’s water level fell to 7.10 meters, a historic low, due to drought. It rose back above eight meters last week.

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