Date
13 December 2017
The ancient Chinese sturgeon faces extinction due to dam projects, overfishing and pollution. Photo: Xinhua
The ancient Chinese sturgeon faces extinction due to dam projects, overfishing and pollution. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese sturgeon at high risk of extinction

Acipenser sinensis, commonly known as Chinese sturgeon, is facing high risk of extinction, with some experts estimating that there could be few as 57 of those creatures left in the Yangtze River, according to a report.

The anadromous fish used to be born in the Yangtze River but grow in the ocean before they return to the river to spawn. However, Gezhouba Dam located in in central China’s Hubei province has blocked the road for the fish to return home since 1981 and many of them have been killed by the generators under the dam or caught by fishermen, am730 reported Friday.

The fish was estimated to number over 10,000 in the 1970s and then fall to 2,176 in the 1980s. By 2000, there were only 363 of them, according to the report, which cited information from Beijing News.

Researchers from Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences questioned 98 fishermen in 20 cities in the region over the past month about the fish but all of them said they had never seen it.

Monitoring results at the end of last year also showed that for the first time no spawn was found at the only spawning site in the downstream of the dam, suggesting the fish is critically endangered.

Chinese sturgeon is protected by the government at the national level, just like giant panda, with multiple protection measures in place. However, the number is still falling due to pollution and overfishing.

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