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China releases 10,000 sturgeon into Yangtze River

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-04-10 22:33
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WUHAN -- A total of 10,000 captive-bred Chinese sturgeon were released into the middle reaches of the Yangtze River on Saturday to help restore the fish's wild population.

The released sturgeon, with a total weight of 13,130 kg, include both young and adults. Fishery authorities have tagged them to track their migration and monitor their activities. Sixteen sturgeon that are close to sexual maturity are carrying satellite-tracking receivers.

The release, which took place in the city of Yichang, in Central China's Hubei province, was conducted jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) and the local government.

Jiang Wei, chief engineer with the Chinese Sturgeon Research Institute of the CTG, said it is important to research the species' migration, habitat and distribution to better help restore their natural propagation and ultimately enrich the wild population.

Nicknamed "aquatic pandas," Chinese sturgeon have existed for more than 140 million years. However, the population of the flagship species in the Yangtze plummeted in the late 20th century due to intrusive human activities.

Since 1984, Chinese experts have been conducting reintroduction events, including releasing captive-bred fry, to increase the wild population. So far, the CTG has released more than 5.04 million Chinese sturgeon into the Yangtze River.

A 10-year fishing ban was also launched in 332 conservation areas along the river at the beginning of 2020.

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