If you’re thinking about catching Chinese paddlefish, you’ll want to learn more about its status. The species, also known as Chinese swordfish, is native to the Yangtze River. Unfortunately, it is now listed as critically endangered, with the last specimen sighted alive in 2007. Due to habitat destruction and overfishing, the species has suffered an alarming decline in recent years. The Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences has determined that the species likely went extinct between 2005 and 2010.
Chinese Paddlefish Extinct in China
The Chinese paddlefish, a popular Chinese fish dish, is now functionally extinct. The decline is attributed primarily to overfishing. The construction of a major dam on the Yangtze River in 1981 splintered the river in two, splitting it in half. This ruined the ecosystem of the river and has led to the extinction of half the 175 species that lived there. Last week, China announced a 10-year ban on fishing in some areas of the river to protect the remaining paddlefish.
Overfishing and damage to the river ecosystem were the main causes of the decline of the Chinese paddlefish. The population of fish declined dramatically between the 1970s and the 1990s. This correlated with major dam construction projects along the Yangtze River, including the Gezhouba Dam which was completed in 1988. After years of searching for the species, the Chinese government announced that the species was functionally extinct.
The Yangtze River was once home to several species of paddlefish. The species has been around for around 200 million years, and it once teemed with a diverse population. One of the biggest recorded specimens measured seven meters long and weighed more than 450KG. The Chinese paddlefish is the largest freshwater fish in the world and is sometimes referred to as the king of freshwater fish. In spite of its large size, it is now extinct in China.
Although the species is no longer widely stocked, the fact that the fish is extinct in China should serve as a wake-up call to Chinese scientists. The Chinese paddlefish may be functionally extinct, but a proactive conservation effort could have prevented this loss. A successful breeding program could have prevented its extinction and saved millions of paddlefish, a unique, Earthly species. Its death will serve as a reminder to Chinese scientists that water is a precious resource.
Threatened by dam construction
The disappearance of the Chinese paddlefish, the world’s largest freshwater fish, comes as a wake-up call for conservationists. Once abundant throughout the region, the Chinese paddlefish was one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, measuring up to 23 feet long and weighing more than a ton. Dam construction and overfishing, however, have rendered this 200-million-year-old species virtually extinct.
The construction of dams along the Yangtze River has severely impacted the Chinese paddlefish population. The construction of the Gezhouba hydroelectric project has significantly reduced the spawning activities of the Chinese paddlefish. The dam also threatens the Chinese sturgeon population, which is already highly vulnerable to environmental pollution and overfishing. The dam has caused the population of the species to split into two groups, leaving the former more vulnerable to damage.
There are several reasons for the current situation. Dam construction is the largest environmental problem in China, and the Xiaonanhai hydroelectric power plant in Chongqing is one of the most controversial. It would threaten a portion of the Yangtze river by providing power to the city’s fast-growing population. However, the dam construction has already caused the displacement of more than 1.3 million people and flooded several cultural sites.
The overfishing and pollution of these fish have led to the rapid extinction of Chinese paddlefish. This species has been a popular target of fisherman for centuries and is highly prized for its plentiful eggs and flesh. Ancient Chinese emperors used to dine on them. However, dam construction has also resulted in their decline, as no living specimens have been preserved for possible resurrection. Therefore, the loss of this species is irreparable.
The demise of the Chinese paddlefish is a growing concern. This species was formerly estimated to number as many as ten thousand. However, a dam constructed in the 1980s has cut off their spawning grounds, and overfishing has contributed to the decline. The Gezhouba Dam has since cut off their spawning grounds, preventing the species from re-establishing its populations upstream. Although the species is no longer alive in the wild, its demise has been accelerating and has led to its listing as an endangered species. The Chinese paddlefish population is estimated to be under 100 species today.
In 1989, China declared the paddlefish a protected species, and the species received more attention than other fish from the Yangtze River. But only in 2002 did a team of researchers discover that paddlefish were in trouble in the river. Even when the team began to perform localized surveys, they never encountered one. The team realized that a comprehensive survey was needed to uncover if the species was actually surviving. They collaborated with the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of Kent to collect samples from the river basin. The team then sampled the main arm of the river and important tributaries, including Dongting and Poyang lakes.
Despite being overfished, Chinese paddlefish were once common in rivers throughout China. They were especially abundant in the Yangtze River, where they were found in abundance between 1950 and 1970. They were heavily harvested during the 1970s, with a harvest of around 25 tonnes per year. However, the Gezhouba Dam cut off their migration and prevented them from reproducing. Therefore, scientists were unable to study the reproductive strategies of these fish.
Chinese Paddlefish Habitat fragmentation
The population of the Chinese paddlefish, also known as the Chinese swordfish, is at risk from habitat fragmentation and overfishing. They once inhabited several large rivers but have been confined to the Yangtze River since the 1950s. Overfishing and habitat fragmentation have led to a significant decline in Chinese paddlefish numbers. The first dam in the Yangtze River, the Gezhouba Dam, blocked most of their migration route.
The Chinese paddlefish was an uncommon species before its extinction. It was thought to have survived 75 million years in the Earth’s oceans, but its population declined dramatically in the early 2000s. The extinction was probably triggered by overfishing in the 1970s, and by habitat fragmentation within their habitats. Habitat fragmentation and dam construction are also responsible for Chinese paddlefish becoming functionally extinct.
The rapid decline in the population has pushed the fish to extinction. It was once considered the world’s largest freshwater fish, weighing 450 kilograms and seven meters long. Unfortunately, its population has plummeted to the point where researchers have stopped spotting it in the Yangtze. Habitat fragmentation and overfishing have destroyed the habitat for this fish, and it is feared that its extinction could lead to further degradation of the species.
Overfishing is the main cause of the decline of Chinese paddlefish. These fish were once plentiful in the Yangtze, but the number of sightings has dropped considerably since the 1970s. Their population reached 25 tons by the mid-1970s and is now functionally extinct. The last recorded live paddlefish was recorded in 2003. Its population has since dropped to zero and conservation efforts are urgently needed.
Chinese Paddlefish Loss of biodiversity
The Gezhouba Dam on the Yangtze River cut the paddlefish population in half by blocking its migration route. The dam also prevented the fish from migrating to the upper reaches of the river, which they needed to breed. This loss of biodiversity was compounded by overfishing, pollution, and water traffic. Sadly, the paddlefish were not the only species that were affected by the dam.
Conservation biologists have long warned that the rapid development of dams in China is threatening Chinese paddlefish populations. However, recent studies have shown that the fish population has drastically declined since the 1970s. Since the first dam was built in the Yangtze, geological surveys have revealed a dramatic decline in the number of species that have come to be known as the Chinese paddlefish. The CBCGDF says that a study in 2017 and 2018 revealed a total of 332 fish species in the river, but no Chinese paddlefish. It is estimated that Chinese paddlefish are functionally extinct by 1993. Conservation biologists say that the lack of reproduction is the likely culprit.
China recently announced a 10-year ban on commercial fishing in the Yangtze River. They say that the ban will allow the fish population to replenish and help monitor the Yangtze’s aquatic life. China is not the only country at risk of losing its biodiversity. According to the United Nations, as many as six million species have been affected by human activity, and more than a third of the world’s marine mammals are now endangered.
The study also reveals that the Chinese paddlefish, known as Psephurus gladius, has been functionally extinct. Previous surveys have failed to spot any individual. A comprehensive large-scale survey in 2017 and 2018 combined with a statistical analysis of previous records, suggests that the Chinese paddlefish may have been functionally extinct by 2010 and likely gone extinct by 1993. These results are concerning because the construction of the dam split the population in half and threatened other species in the Yangtze River basin.