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Fishermen on Lower Yangtze River Hang up Their Nets
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The annual three-month ban on fishing extended from the upper reaches of China's Yangtze River to the lower reaches on Sunday, suspending the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen.

The lower reaches from the Gezhou Dam in the central Hubei Province to the river mouth will operate the ban from April 1 to June 30, while the ban on the upper reaches started the ban on February 1 and ends on April 30.

All fishing activities are banned during the period, a prohibition enforced since 2002 to save the Yangtze's dwindling fish stocks.

State-level fish farms and scientific institutions must apply to the Ministry of Agriculture for approval to take fry or any other fish from the river.

Local governments along the river use the time to release herring, grass carp, chub and big-head fish fry to boost stocks.

The ban also covers Poyang and Dongting lakes, two major fresh water lakes connected to the Yangtze.

In the eastern Anhui Province alone, more than 3,000 fishing boats and 14,000 fishermen were affected and the local government would provide subsidies and skills training for fishermen during the ban, said Bi Meijia, head of provincial agricultural committee.

The ban has proved effective in increasing fish stocks by protecting them during the spawning period in spring.

The Yangtze River has long been regarded as a major freshwater fishery. However, excessive fishing has put some varieties on the brink of distinction.

(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2007)

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