Chinese buy algae-eating fish to clean Taihu Lake

16:23, February 02, 2010      

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People in east China's Jiangsu, Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai Municipality have bought 330,000 silver carp fry to help restore the algae-plagued Taihu Lake, the country's third largest freshwater lake, said local fishery authorities Monday.

The donation campaign was initiated on Jan. 19 by 20 local media organizations.

The algae-eating fry were scheduled to be put into the 2,400-square-km lake on Feb. 23, said Fan Xiao, an official with the Taihu Lake Fishing Administration.

Costing 0.6 yuan (0.09 U.S.dollars), a silver carp could consume 50 kg of algae and other matter by September this year when it was expected to weigh 1.5 to 2 kg, Fan said.

"When I was young, Taihu Lake was clean. But its water quality deteriorated several years ago," said Zhao Meizhen, a 90-year-old retired teacher who bought 500 fry.

The local government began to use silver carp to clean the lake in February last year after blue-green algae choked the lake in 2007 as a result of rampant pollution. It had affected the drinking water of 17 million residents, Fan said.

The costs of the campaign were shared by government funds and public donations, he said.

In 2009, the local government bought more than 14 million silver carp fry and donors bought 1 million.

This year, the goverment funds would be estimated at 12 million yuan, he said. "The biological treatment of the algae has proved quite effective."

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