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Yangtze fishing ban leaves communities high and dry by Li You December 02,2019   |  Source: Caixin

Like many others in this part of China, Zhang Haiyang says he never chose to become a Yangtze River fisher — he was born one. “Those who live on the mountains live off the mountains; those who live near water live off the water,” the 42-year-old tells Sixth Tone.

For centuries, China’s “Mother River” has shaped the lives of the people living along its banks as a source of food, water, and occasionally disaster. Zhang was raised on a riverboat and began fishing full time at 15 years old, following in the footsteps of generations of his ancestors. Last year, however, his way of life abruptly came to an end.

In January 2018, local authorities in Zhang’s hometown of Honghu in Central China’s Hubei province banned all commercial fishing on the Yangtze and several adjoining lakes and tributaries. By the end of 2020, similar policies will be implemented across the 6,300-kilometer-long (3,914 miles) waterway as the Chinese government steps up efforts to protect the river’s fragile ecosystems.

New protections are urgently needed: The river runs through 11 different regions, with a combined population of nearly 600 million people, and decades of rapid development have taken a terrible toll. Its waters have been choked by severe pollution, while several native


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