Naked carp protection efforts enhance Qinghai Lake's ecosystem

(People's Daily Online) 10:17, March 08, 2024

People release naked carp fry into a river. (Photo courtesy of the Qinghai Lake Naked Carp Rescue Center)

The population of naked carp in Qinghai Lake has seen a remarkable increase, reaching 120,300 tonnes in 2023, which is 46 times greater than the figure recorded at the onset of conservation efforts.

Over 40 years ago, Qinghai Province in northwest China, home to Qinghai Lake, initiated protection efforts for the naked carp and the lake itself. Since then, the province has committed fully to these conservation measures, successfully fostering a public consensus on environmental protection.

The naked carp, a species that lives in saltwater but migrates to freshwater to spawn, depends on the flow of water to stimulate the development of its reproductive organs.

In the past, agricultural development hindered the migration of naked carp. To address this issue, the province has invested 45 million yuan ($6.25 million) since 2010. This investment has been used to demolish barrages across various rivers and to construct or renovate overflow dams, making them 10 percent shorter than usual. These measures have not only improved pathways for the naked carp but also expanded their spawning grounds. Consequently, the longstanding conflict between fish and farmers over water has been resolved.

The installation of 30-centimeter-tall steps at intervals of 1.6 meters along naked carp migration pathways, coupled with small resting pools, has aided their upstream swimming. According to Qi Hongfang, deputy director of the Qinghai Lake Naked Carp Rescue Center, this measure significantly improves the species' breeding capabilities.

Photo shows naked carp in Qinghai. (Photo courtesy of the Qinghai Lake Naked Carp Rescue Center)

Since 2010, Qinghai Province has demolished dams on three rivers and constructed or refurbished seven pathways to facilitate the upstream migration of naked carp. These initiatives have created favorable conditions for the breeding of naked carp by providing accessible routes.

Since 2020, the Qinghai Lake Naked Carp Rescue Center has made steady progress in enhancing the survival rates of artificially cultivated naked carp.

The center has conducted extensive research on the early developmental characteristics of naked carp fry, including their growth and dietary patterns.

The center has made breakthroughs in artificial hatching and seedling cultivation, developed effective methods for disease prevention. Consequently, the survival rates of naked carp fry in freshwater artificial breeding have significantly increased, achieving a survival rate of over 80 percent.

Qi stated that since the implementation of closing the lake for fish breeding, Qinghai Lake has seen notable improvements in the artificial breeding and release of naked carp. With strengthened scientific and technological support, the annual release of fish fry has increased from 3 million to over 20 million. As of 2023, a total of 210 million fish fry have been released, contributing 26 percent to the recovery of naked carp resources in Qinghai Lake.

Frontline fishery and fishery administration personnel in Qinghai Province patrol Qinghai Lake for three months during the naked carp's spawning season and also conduct regular patrols during winter to prevent illegal fishing. Staying up late has become a common practice for them.

The law enforcement team, active on the frontline, embodies Qinghai Province's continuous efforts to strengthen fishing laws. They provide strong support for the protection of naked carp in Qinghai Lake through various actions, including conducting investigations and solving cases.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


Related Stories