Pollution, overfishing kill East China Sea
Updated: 2006-08-17 14:45

BEIJING - China environmental officials said the East China Sea is dying from pollution and overfishing, the Shanghai Daily reported on Thursday.

Eighty-one percent of the East China Sea, a major fishing ground ringed by China, South Korea and Japan, was rated category-four for pollution, the second worst category in a five-tier scale, the paper said, quoting a survey by environmental officials from China's eastern coastal province of Zhejiang.

The figure represented a 53 percent rise in category-four pollution from 2000, the report said, with petrochemical waste and heavy metals the main contaminants.

The East China Sea's fish stocks provide a tenth of China's total catch, the paper said, but local catches had declined to 980,000 tons in 2005 from 1.3 million tonnes in 2001.

People employed in the fishing industry had declined to 210,000 from a high of 250,000, the paper said.

"There were fewer and fewer cash fish and more juvenile fish in each haul," Yu Zhouzhuang, a seafood restaurant owner who quit the industry, told the paper.

"I realised that the lack of fish would soon put a lot of fishermen out of business."