More than 1,200 artificially-bred Chinese fishes were released into the Yangtze river on Sunday to increase their stocks.

Hundreds of volunteers and residents helped to release them in the city of Yinchang, central China’s Hubei province.

Among the fish, 1,000 were second-generation artificially-bred sturgeons and over 200 first-generation ones, Cao Guangjing, chairman of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) said. Sturgeon is the common name used for some 26 species of fish in the family Acipenseridae.

The fish were trained for the wild for a month before being released by the Chinese Sturgeons Research Institute (CSRI) under the CTGC, said Cao.

Believed to have lived at the same time as dinosaurs, the Chinese sturgeon, or “acipenser sinensis,” has existed for more than 140 million years.

The fish nicknamed “aquatic pandas” is listed as a wild creature under state top protection.