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Pearl River Valley Boasts World's Largest Sturgeon Population
Chinese environmentalists this summer have released another 23,380 artificially bred sturgeons into the Pearl River in south China's Guangdong Province.

The Chinese sturgeon, known as a living fossil as it is one of the oldest vertebrates in the world, has existed for more than 200million years. But it has become one of the most endangered fish species because of environmental degradation.

According to statistics, more than 200,000 sturgeon have been released into the Pearl River, which nurtures the world's largest population of the species.

To prevent this rare species from becoming extinct, Guangdong'smarine and fisheries departments started to breed sturgeon in 1998.

A large plant for raising sturgeon has been built in Sanshui inthe province, where the fish's average hatching rate reaches 80 percent and the survival rate nears 95 percent.

The province has so far developed four such plants, which raiseabout 300,000 sturgeons altogether.

Since 1998, Guangdong has released 200,000 sturgeon minnows into rivers in the Pearl River valley, some of which have been marked for later research.

As the hatching rate for wild sturgeon minnows was usually below one percent, it would take 12 to 18 years to verify whether the released sturgeon could survive and reproduce, experts said.

(China Daily August 19, 2002)

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