Chinese nature reserve bans release of exotic fish over eco threats

  • Order imposed to stop pollution and habitat invasion by non-native species
PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 8:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2019, 11:01pm

A northwestern region in China has banned the release of exotic fish into the waters of a national park because of threats to the area’s aquatic environment.

The Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province imposed the permanent ban over the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve at the start of the year, state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday.

The reserve is home to the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang (Mekong) rivers, and the ban applies to the waterways and their tributaries, as well as lakes and reservoirs.

The authorities issued the order after residents and tourists released non-native fish such as carp into the waters as part of a Buddhist rite. Many of the fish died and rotted, creating pollution, while others invaded the habitat of the native species.

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The ban will be enforced jointly by fishing and aquatic affairs, environment and market supervision officers. Serious offenders could face jail time, the report said.

The authorities will also try to stop fish being brought into the area, prevent the loss of habitat for native species, and mount public awareness campaigns about the need for the ban.