Overfishing depleting sea resources

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Liu Qinghai, from Yantai in Shandong, gave up fishing five years ago when profits started to decline and turned to breeding shrimps instead.

"It seems our only option with the high diesel price and employment costs," he said.

Even with aquaculture, ocean pollution is a big issue that must be dealt with.

Jiao Jiande, who has raised oysters in coastal waters in Rizhao for more than 20 years, said fishermen are now forced to raise ocean species that are more adaptable to the outside environment.

Jiao, who started farming fish in the early 1990s, said pollution clearly took its toll on fish farms across the city.

"About 20 years ago, scallops could be raised in all the coastal waters in Rizhao. We were forced to switch to raising oysters 10 years ago after all the scallops we raised died," he said.

Compared with scallops, which are more sensitive to pollution and changes in water temperature, oysters are more adaptable to the outside environment.

Jiao said the city's port construction and development of the steel industry has caused severe pollution in coastal waters, and the pollutants make the water less nutritious and the water temperature more changeable.

Even with the oysters he raised, they failed to fatten up, despite all efforts, he said.

As for Hou, the more than 70,000 yuan annual income the sea provides is no longer an attraction to him, and he is considering completely dropping the trade.

"I spent 120 days on my boat during a fishing trip last year, and you can image how boring it was to stay on a 20-meter long boat all day and night," he said.

"My son is 4 years old and I missed him very much when I was on the boat," he said. "When he grows up, I will tell him not to become a fisherman."


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