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Huso Sturgeon Faces Threat of Water Shortage
The huso sturgeon in the Qinhai Lake in Qinghai province now face the threat of water shortage, in addition to poaching, as men and draught animals in the lake basin vie for water with it.

The huso sturgeon is a precious fish species under the state protection. It calls for ten years for a half a kilogram fish to grow mature and its egg survival rate is but one thousandth.

The corpses of countless sexually mature fish were seen in the dried lake bed. In the center of the bird island, some farmers were digging ditches to lead water from the Buha River, a major tributary of the lake, to irrigate their farm fields. The lake's major tributaries are the channels where the sexually mature fish swim upstream to spawn from March to July every year. The water works along the rivers draw water and make them dry up, cutting the channels of life for the huso sturgeon. According to the administration of fisheries of Gonghe county, more than 200 tons of the fish died as a result in the Buha river in June last year.

On the way to Gangca county, people were watching hordes of spawning fish swimming against a dam on the Shaliu River erected by the Qinghai Lake Farm with an investment of 32 million yuan.

The lake is a nature reserve on the list of the nation's first class protection. Any construction in the reserve must pass through environmental impact assessment by experts. However, the local governments disregard this rule.

Environmentalists appeal that the provincial government take effective steps to tear down all human-made constructions on the major tributaries of the lake, making the spawning channels of the fish unobstructed.

(www.cenews.com.cn July 15, 2002)

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