Chinese authorities are investigating the death of nearly 6,000 Chinese sturgeons, a "critically endangered" species of extinction, allegedly due to the construction of an ecotourism complex near a breeding area, reports Hong Kong daily South China. Morning Post
According to the newspaper, since the beginning of 2018 a total of 36 mature sturgeons – over 20 years old – and around 6,000 young people – up to 2 years of age – have died at the Hengsheng fish farm, located in Jingzhou, in the province of Hubei (center).
The provincial fisheries office said the deaths are "directly related to the shocks, noise and variations in water resources" caused by the construction of Jinan's eco-cultural tourist zone.
The works, which were announced in 2016, have been marked by the disagreement between the local government and the promoter, which in the absence of a compensatory agreement refused to change the location of the ecotourism complex.
In fact, over the past year, more than ten municipal inspection teams visited their offices to order the construction paralysis, which directly threatened the survival of the sturgeon, orders that until now have been ignored, according to the South China Morning Post .
One of the people in charge of the breeding area told the local media that the works moved even closer to the fish farm, which caused the fish a "growing anguish", as well as the contamination of the lake they used as a source of water.
Therefore, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has urged local authorities to do "everything they can" to ensure the safety of the species.
Considered a "national treasure" along with the panda, the Chinese sturgeon, whose scientific name is 'acipenser sinensis', is in "critical danger" of extinction due to pollution, overfishing and the construction of massive dams in China.
The species, originally from the Yangtze River, is one of the oldest living beings on Earth, since it is estimated to have existed for 140 million years, from the Cretaceous period, when there were still dinosaurs on Earth.
In this sense, China began to prepare a captive breeding program in the 80s, when there were barely 200 specimens of sturgeon in the wild, and managed to breed a specimen artificially for the first time in 2009.
However, the survival of sturgeon in the wild is still a pending challenge, as demonstrated by the release in 2005 of more than 10,000 offspring and 200 medium-sized specimens bred in captivity, of which two years later only 14 were left in the wild. Yangtze River
Given these perspectives, the Chinese sturgeon, which can reach up to five meters in length and is very vulnerable to noise, environmental condition and wounds caused by ships, could disappear, as happened with the Yangtze dolphin in the 2007
The president of China, Xi Jinping, warned last April that the Yangtze, once home to 424 species -183 of them autochthonous-, had become a "desert" of fish, due to pollution conditions that they have led to the longest river in the country being practically uninhabitable.