From: Jonathan Watts, Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published January 19, 2011 08:45 AM

Last refuge of rare fish threatened by Yangtze dam plans

Developers of hydroelectric plant have redrawn the boundaries of a crucial freshwater reserve for rare and economically important species. The last refuge for many of China's rarest and most economically important wild fish has mere days to secure public support before it is trimmed, dammed and ruinously diminished,conservationists warned today.


The alarm was raised after the authorities in Chongqing quietly moved to redraw the boundaries of a crucial freshwater reserve on the Yangtze, which was supposed to have been the bottom line for nature conservation in one of the world's most important centres of biodiversity.

The Upper Yangtze Rare and Endemic Fish Nature Reserve was created in the 1990s as a haven for species that were threatened by the Three Gorges dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric plant.

Among the hundreds of species it protects are four types of wild carp that experts say are essential to China's food security because they provide the diverse genetic stock on which fish farms depend for healthy breeding.

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