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Mistakenly-caught Chinese Sturgeons Released into Sea

A batch of Chinese sturgeons, mistakenly caught by Chinese fishermen between May and August this year, have been released into the sea five nautical miles east of the Chongming Island of Shanghai.


The 22 young Chinese sturgeons, released into the sea on Friday, were caught by Chinese fishermen in the waters near Chongming Island and were immediately sent to the Shanghai Chinese Sturgeon Salvage Center for treatment and cure.


A total of 620 Chinese sturgeons have been released into the sea so far this year, the Shanghai Chinese Sturgeon Salvage Center said Monday.


The Chinese sturgeon is one of the oldest vertebrates in the world, surviving for more than 150 million years, a so-called "living fossil." The species is now under State protection.


The Chinese sturgeon is a migratory fish mainly living in the Yangtze River valley area near the eastern China coast. Normally, Chinese sturgeons spawn in the middle reaches of the Yangtze, China's longest river, in November, and young sturgeons swim for thousands of kilometers down the Yangtze and reach the estuary of the river in May next year. Starting September every year, young sturgeons begin to swim into the sea.


Bao Weimin, an official in charge of fishery affairs, said that the water area east of the Chongming Island is the only natural ideal habitat for young sturgeons in China, since it is a place where the sea water and the Yangtze River water joins together and the area boasts rich fishing bait.


However, rough flood tides and ebb tides in the area often cause young sturgeons to be stranded on the beach or being caught mistakenly by fishermen.


For this, Shanghai's fishery department set up the Shanghai Chinese Sturgeon Salvage Center on the East Beach of Chongming Island 10 years ago. Statistics show that the center has salvaged and cured about 4,000 young sturgeons over the past 11 years.


(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2003)

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