Annual fishing ban starts on Poyang Lake in eastern China

2008-03-20 04:54:48 Xinhua English

NANCHANG, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, began a three-month fishing ban on Thursday to protect the spring spawning of fish and increase fish stocks.

The ban applies to the entire lake, which is in the eastern province of Jiangxi, said the provincial fishing affairs administration.

Local fishing authorities will step up monitoring of protected areas, aquatic product markets and restaurants to crack down on illegal fishing, according to the administration.

Officials will encourage fishermen to shift to other industries to ensure their livelihood during the ban, it said, and artificial fish-breeding will be adopted to increase the number and species of fish in the lake.

Since 1986, there has been a yearly fishing ban over parts of the 330,000-hectare Poyang Lake, which suffered from over-fishing and pollution. Thanks to continued environmental protection efforts, it is now home to a wealth of aquatic species and migratory birds.

From 2002, spring and winter bans have been imposed upon the whole lake, during which all fishing boats and tackle are forbidden.

The ban was a success as some species reappeared after years of absence and fishermen's incomes increased when fishing resumed in summer.