Who let the carp out?

Posted on 09 April 2009

Anqing, Anhui - In a dynamic new approach to increasing biodiversity in the Yangtze River, China released its first ever group of carp parent fish to help restore balance in the important freshwater ecosystem.

The parent fish being released include the four major kinds of Chinese carp梑lack carp, grass carp, silver carp and bighead carp. A total of 200 parent fish, some weighing up to 34 kilos, and an additional 2000 adult carp were let go in the Yangtze during a WWF-led launch ceremony in Anqing, Anhui province.

Mr. Li Furong, Executive Vice Director of Yangtze Fishery Resources Administration Committee said that the fish release is an important new approach to keeping Yangtze resources in check.

"This parent fish release is a new approach to solving critical problems like the low survival rate of fish fry, and the decline of fish spices in the Yangtze River. We will continue to find new ways to address these problems to restore health and life to the Yangtze."

Overuse, illegal fishing, climate change and pollution are having devastating effects on the Yangtze, causing a rapid decline in aquatic life. The Baiji dolphin is functionally extinct in the wild, while the population of finless porpoise is decreasing at a rate of 10% a year. Meanwhile, the four major kinds of wild carp found in the Yangtze represent a mere 5% of their numbers ten years ago.

But in a strong show of support, representatives from fishery administrations and enterprises as well as students and ordinary people helped release the nearly 200 parent and 2000 young adult carp into the river.

"We have been working with important partners like the Yangtze Fishery Resources Committee and HSBC on conservation initiatives in the Central Yangtze since 2003. These have been extremely successful," said WWF China Country Representative Dermot O扜orman.

"And today, we have reached another major milestone with the first parent fish release of Chinese carp in the Yangtze. Together, we will continue to ensure that China抯 longest river has what it needs to thrive," continued Mr. O'Gorman.

The Yangtze runs a 6,300km course from high in the Tibetan Plateau to the Pacific Ocean. It nurtures over four hundred million people and countless unique and endangered species, the giant panda, Baiji dolphin, finless porpoise and Chinese sturgeon among them.

The river also supports some of China抯 most important freshwater fish species for food, including the black carp, grass carp, silver carp and bighead carp. These species now represent 60 to 70 percent of the nation's fish production, and nearly one-third of China's protein demands.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Chaplin, Communication Officer, WWF China
Tel: +86 10 6511 6237, e-mail: cchaplin@wwfchina.org

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.