Law enforcement is being strengthened to protect waters on the Yangtze River basin as a 10-year fishing ban in the region has gone into effect to restore natural resources damaged by overfishing and pollution over the past decades.
The ban extends not only to the river’s mainstream but also tributaries and neighboring lakes, which requires more manpower to monitor and crack down on illegal activity in the vast water systems.
In Hongze Lake, China’s fourth largest freshwater lake located in the eastern province of Jiangsu, over 1,100 personnel from various departments are patrolling an area of over 2,000 square kilometers.
“Every day we arrange personnel to work with the fishery, marine and water conservancy sectors. We enforce the law together,” said Wang Daoqin, a Hongze Lake police officer.
In the neighboring Gaobaoshaobo, a 936-square-kilometer lake stretching across Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, teams are finding it difficult to collect evidence and improve efficiency, especially during the night because that’s when illegal fishing usually happens.
“We’ve decided to use information technologies to enhance our capabilities to crack down on illegal fishing and enforce the fishing ban,” said Shen Gang, a fishery supervisor on Gaobaoshaobo Lake.
Recently, a system that integrates new technologies in detection, navigation and communication was introduced to personnel patrolling on waters and those backing up the missions in command centers to help them check for illegal fishing or anything else that could harm the iconic waterway’s natural ecosystem.
The monitoring system, as well as the working mechanism is being shared in 11 provinces or municipalities along the Yangtze River. Officials say only through the coordination can the fishing ban be truly implemented on the vast waters.
Official statistics show that in the second half of 2020, over 7,160 illegal fishing cases were handled along the river through joint efforts.
“This is to protect biodiversity, help the ecosystem be naturally restored, lower the density of fishing, and eventually let the rivers and lakes be rehabilitated,” said Zhang Shengyu, director of Hongze Lake Fishery Management Office.