A total of 70,000 fish were released in to the Yangtze River, the longest in China, from Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, Thursday.
Tang Tao, deputy governor of Hubei, said at a specially organized ceremony to mark Thursday's release, that the move was just a prelude of his province's plan to replenish the Yangtze with 500 million fish this year.
Released were 10,000 head of Chinese paddle fish, or sturgeon, which is classified for protection in China, along with 20,000 mullet and carp, said Xu Hantao, chief of the Hubei Provincial Bureau of Aquatic Products.
"The fry release plan will be helpful in restoring the Yangtze's ecosystem," said Xu, who added that a three-month fishing ban would also be imposed starting April 1.
Xu didn't give an exact value of the fish released Thursday. Nor did he give a price tag for the total 500 million fish to be released this year.
According to Xu, more fry will be released into the Yangtze from other locations such as the Three Gorges Reservoir, as well as tributary Hanjiang River.
The Yangtze, with a length of 6,403 kilometers, originates in Qinghai, and flows eastward through Sichuan,Tibet, Yunnan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Jiangsu. It empties into the East China Sea in Shanghai.
Wuhan is the most important industrial city on the middle reaches of the Yangtze.