Tough times force Zhejiang fishermen to become ‘pig removers’ | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 26, 2015
  • Updated: 2:08am
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Tough times force Zhejiang fishermen to become ‘pig removers’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 March, 2013, 2:24pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 March, 2013, 2:24pm

Instead of trying to catch fish in China’s polluted waters, fishermen in Zhejiang have been given an unpleasant new task – removing dead pigs from local rivers.

The new job also means a pay rise – they can now earn up to 150 yuan a day. This is a significant rise for many fishermen as fish are becoming harder to find in China’s polluted rivers.

Jiaxing villager Xu Yumei explained that after long hours of fishing last Thursday she sold her catch for less than 30 yuan.

Last year, Xu was offered a 150 yuan a day to remove dead pigs from a local river. She took the job for four days - then gave up. “It was too smelly,” Xu told Xiaoxiang Morning Herald.

But another villager and former fishermen, Chen Qiaogen said he could do the job. {Anything], as long as I can make money.” Chen said that in the last week he extracted 300 dead pigs, on average, each day.

Last Friday, the Jiaxing government claimed it had retrieved 3,601 pigs in just one week. But some villagers said only a fraction of the number had been removed.

In the last two weeks, thousands of dead pigs were seen one river which flows through Shanghai. The incident attracted international media attention.

Jiaxing, a city at the upper reach of the river, where some villagers breed pigs, has been blamed by government officials and the media for the problem. Rumours spread that the pigs died from disease, sparking fears that local drinking water would be contaminated.

But Jiang Hao, the vice-director of Jiaxing’s Animal Husbandry Bureau, said most of the pigs froze to death.

Deteriorating water pollution is having a big economic impact on traditional fishing villages.

The Jiaxing Dail reported that as early as year 2005 there was hardly any fish in 80 per cent of the waterways in one of the region’s towns.

Asked whether she still fishes, Xu said: “How is it possible to fish in these waters?”

Another fisherwoman Chen Qiaozhen said: “Even if you can catch fish, they are too smelly to sell.”

Villagers also told the newspaper that people threw dead pigs into rivers because it was too expensive to build treatment facilities to dispose of them.

 

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