Research is underway to formulate policies and measures to ensure
implementation of an extensive 10-year ban on fishing in the Yangtze
River starting next year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
The ban, which takes effect on Jan 1, outlaws all types of fishing,
except for scientific research, in the main channel of the Yangtze,
China's longest river, and in its major branches and two major lakes
connected to it. The ban was adopted to restore the ecology of the
river, which has deteriorated because of overfishing.
Existing regulations ban fishing in the river for four months every year.
To ensure effective supervision and law enforcement of the 10-year
ban, the ministry is working with other central government departments,
including the National Development and Reform Commission, in drafting
policies and measures for how enforcement will work and ensuring
adequate personnel and material and financial support, according to the
Meanwhile, local governments along the river will intensify building
fishing enforcement units, and all 227 key counties will have
professional law enforcement personnel and necessary equipment and
funding for the task, the ministry said.
As the ban approaches, however, more than half of the 227 cities and
counties still lack independent fishing enforcement authorities, and 14
of them do not have any full-time law enforcement officers for fishing
administration, which the ministry said falls far short what is needed.
To enforce the ban, about 231,000 fishermen in 10 provinces and
municipalities who have been relying on the river for a living will have
to stop fishing before the end of the year, and more than 111,000
fishing boats will be disposed of, the ministry said.
By early September, nearly 95 percent of all fishing boats operating
in key waters of the Yangtze River had been retrieved and properly
disposed of, and about half of all the fishermen affected had turned to
other jobs, officials said.
Providing for needs
The ministry will pay close attention to providing essential needs
and helping with re-employment of fishermen affected by the ban to
ensure their basic living standards while speeding up the retrieval of
boats and fishing nets, it said.
Related authorities will provide support in various forms for
re-employment of the fishermen, including providing free training for
those who intend to turn to ocean fishing and helping them obtain needed
certificates, the ministry said.
Market regulation authorities across China have also intensified law
enforcement ahead of the ban, including improving supervision to halt
illegal fishing in the river and online trade in wildlife caught in the
river, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation.
Yu Kangzhen, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said the
ecology of the Yangtze River has been degraded significantly in recent
years through high-intensity human activities, resulting in a
near-depletion of fish.
The river used to provide up to 60 percent of all freshwater fish in
China, a figure now reduced to less than 1 percent, which means the
river has lost its value for the fishing industry, he said.
"Implementing the ban is also an effective means to change the
dilemma confronting many fishermen, who face depleted resources, and to
serve their long-term interests," Yu said.
More financial support, including special subsidies from local
governments, will be arranged to help resettle the fishermen affected in
order to carry out the ban, according to the ministry.
Liu Kai, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences,
said a 10-year ban will be an unprecedented move to protect fishing in
It is expected that the ecology in the Yangtze River will be
significantly improved by the ban and other environment restoration
measures, resulting in a great rebound of aquatic life in the river, he