Chinese man jailed for over three years for catching one little fish

Electrofishing duo head to prison after police find haul includes an endangered species

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 3:58pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 November, 2017, 4:57pm

A man from southwest China has been jailed for more than three years after he caught and killed a small fish, local media reported.

Li Licai and partner Tang Yongxiang were caught electrofishing in the Yangtze in Luzhou, Sichuan province, by police earlier this year.

Among their 7kg catch, was a baby 50 gram high-fin banded shark, which is listed as a Chinese category II endangered species, local news portal Newslz reported via its Weibo account.

A local court ruled on Friday that Li was guilty of poaching and killing endangered wildlife.

Because he had a previous conviction for harbouring a criminal and was still on probation for that offence, the court ruled that he should be jailed for three years and two months.

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Tang was also sentenced to seven months in prison for the same crime. They were each fined 2,000 yuan (US$300).

Killing endangered species can result in up to 10 years’ imprisonment, according to Chinese law.

The high-fin banded shark was added to the protected species list because its numbers have declined dramatically due to pollution, overfishing and dam construction, which prevents it reaching its spawning grounds.

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The species – known as Myxocyprinus asiaticusis – was given its name because it resembles a shark and is popular in the aquarium trade.

Poaching to satisfy this demand has further diminished its numbers.

Electrofishing, which involves using two electrodes to produce electric currents to shock and paralyse fish, is also illegal, regardless of the species caught.