From: Reuters
Published October 14, 2007 09:09 AM

China algae outbreak threatens fish stock: report

BEIJING (Reuters) - An outbreak of blue-green algae in China's fifth-largest freshwater lake is killing off its stock of whitebait fish, signaling deteriorating conditions in the lake, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

The algae bloom in Chaohu Lake, in eastern Anhui province, is the latest in a string of outbreaks in recent months that have affected the water supplies of millions of people.

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"The delicate whitebait, which requires a high standard of water quality, is disappearing mainly because of the rampant blue-green algae in the lake," Xinhua quoted Chen Jianqun, head of Chaohu city's fisheries bureau, as saying.

State media said in June that satellite images showed part of Chaohu Lake was covered in blue-green algae, saying experts had warned it could expand further.

Xinhua did not say how much of Chaohu lake was now covered, but it cited unnamed experts with the local agricultural university as saying the drop in whitebait stocks served as a "warning signal" for the lake's ecosystem.

"I have never seen a year like this one when the output of the whitebait is so low," it quoted fisherman Liu Yejun as saying.

Algae looms develop in water rich in nutrients, often because of run-off from heavy fertilizer use, industrial runoff and untreated sewage -- all pollutants in ready supply in eastern China.

In late May, an algae bloom in China's third-biggest lake cut off water supplies to over 2 million residents of Wuxi city in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

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