Laws and Justice

China Intensifies Crackdown on Illegal Fishing in Yangtze River and Beyond

Main image to the post China Intensifies Crackdown on Illegal Fishing in Yangtze River and Beyond

Authorities have vowed to continue their crackdown on illegal fishing in the Yangtze River, aiming to eliminate the underground network that produces and sells banned fishing gear. This effort is part of a decade-long moratorium on fishing in the river, implemented in 2021 to restore its ecological health.

Despite the moratorium, illegal fishing remains a threat, with authorities noting that it has become more concealed and difficult to detect. To address this, they will increase nighttime surveillance and patrols near provincial borders, where jurisdictional vacuums make poaching more prevalent. They will also scrutinize unregistered and unlicensed trawlers and banned fishing practices like electric shock fishing.

The State Council has issued a guideline to steadfastly advance the ban, dispelling rumors of fish overpopulation in the Yangtze. Officials emphasize that while the fish population has increased since 2021, it remains only a fraction of its preindustrial level. Restoring fish populations is a long-term endeavor, as evidenced by examples like Qinghai Lake and the Rhine River.

The Ministry of Public Security has solved over 20,000 cases involving violations of the ban since 2021, leading to a decrease in illegal fishing in the Yangtze's main waterways. The ministry will continue to patrol susceptible sections, use information technology, and conduct undercover investigations to combat related crimes.

The fishing ban on the Yangtze is part of China's broader efforts to restore the ecological health of its waterways. The agriculture ministry has announced the strictest summertime fishing moratorium in the annual "Shining Sword" mission, targeting illegal fishing on rivers and at sea. Collaboration with maritime neighbors will also be enhanced to combat cross-border illegal angling during the moratorium period.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09