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Fishery authorities probe fish deaths in E China

(Xinhua)

10:18, September 06, 2011

GUTIAN, Fujian, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Local fishery authorities in east China's Fujian Province are working to determine what caused the deaths of a large number of fish discovered in a major river earlier this month.

An investigation team, led by the provincial department of oceans and fisheries, will release the investigation report "very soon" as demanded by hundreds of fishermen affected by the incident in Gutian County, according to a spokesman with the county government.

The dead fish, all artificially bred in net cages, were first found in a section of the Minjiang River flowing through the townships of Shuikou and Huangtian in Gutian on Thursday, said the spokesman.

Current statistics show that fish from more than 9,000 cages had been found dead in the two townships by Saturday, but the number could be revised after the clean-up of the dead fish flowing in the river is finished, he said.

Over 700 families running fish farms in the two townships have experienced direct economic losses of nearly 100 million yuan (about 15.7 million U.S. dollars).

Li Shouxian, a fisherman in the village of Wankou in Shuikou, told Xinhua that all of his two million grass carps died between Thursday and Saturday.

"I released the fries into the water last winter. Now each of them weighed an average of about 1.5 kilograms, and it was time to sell them," Li said.

"We hope the government finds the cause of the fish deaths as soon as possible, and provides us with compensation," he said.

The Minjiang River, spanning over 500 kilometers, is the largest river in Fujian.

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