AMUR-HEILONG RIVER BASIN

 

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Species diversity and use of biological resources
China Fisheries
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The rising fisheries sector in North East China is accompanied by significant structural change in fisheries and aquaculture.  In Heilongjiang Province captured-fish production accounted for 86 percent of total production in 1970, declined to 40-50 percent in the mid-1980s, to about 30 percent in the early 1990s, and remained at less than 20 percent after the mid-1990s (see Table below ).  In contrast to the declining share of captured-fish production, aquaculture production has increased from less than 15 percent in 1970 to 68 percent in 1990, and nearly 88 percent in 2002.

Table. Changes in the structure (%) of fisheries production 1970-2002 in Heilongjiang Province.


Year

Capture fishery
percent

Culture fishery
percent

1970

86

14

1975

77

23

1980

56

44

1985

46

55

1990

32

67

1995

21

79

2000

15

85

2002

13

87

Source: Fisheries Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, PRC and Heilongjiang Provincial Fisheries Bureau

Aquaculture focuses mostly on fish from Carp family, while other more lucrative fisheries solely depend on wild fish.
The salmon catch in China declined from 1.3 million fish with a total weight of 4,501 tons in 1963 to an average 0.2-0.3 million fish before the mid-1990s, and 20,000-30,000 fish after 1996, and 10,000 fish in the final years of the last decade.  The main reason for this rapid decline in production is depletion of wild salmon stocks caused by over-fishing in both China and Russia
It is impossible for China acting alone to protect and recover anadromous salmon resources because of the effects salmon reproductive biology combined with the political geography and fishing practices in the Lower Amur River. The lower reach of the river is entirely in Russian territory and it is here that Russian fishermen can capture salmon during their spring upstream migration before they reach the middle and upper reaches of the basin.  Until the governments of Russia and China (and Mongolia when considering taimen and lenok) are all cooperatively involved in salmonid research and management in all reaches of the river system, the issues of salmonid migration, political boundaries, and unilateral fishing practices will continue to hold the entire salmon fishery at risk of collapse.
The Amur/Heilong River is the main habitat for Kaluga sturgeon (Huso dauricus) and Amur sturgeon (Acipenser schrenckii), both of which are generally called sturgeon.  These two species have been over-fished to the extent that they have both been designated by IUCN World Conservation Union as globally endangered. 
The region near the Amur-Heilong River is the largest sturgeon producing area in China with a current annual output of more than 100 tons.  The catch of sturgeon fell from 452 tons in 1987 to 140 tons in 2002.  Few sturgeon can now be found in the Ussuri/Wusuli and the two species are thought to be extinct in the Songhua River.  Both rivers supported sturgeon in the recent past. 
Wild Amur-Heilong River  sturgeon is the major source of fry for sturgeon aquaculture throughout China, accounting for 70 percent of all fry used for cultivation.

Map collections:

Species richness

Distribution of charismatic species

 

Maps:

Fauna types

Kaluga sturgeon

Upper Ussury –Lake Khanka

 

Photo:

Fish diversity

Turtle and other relatives of the black dragon

Fisheries

Amur meadows and wetlands – Amur midflow

Khanka Lake and Upper Ussury Wetlands

Lower Amur Wetlands

 

GIS: Charismatic species ranges

 

New fishing lease at Moergol River. Inner Mongolia. (Photo by E.Simonov)

Also look:

Species richness in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Kaluga sturgeon

Salmonid diversity

Chinese soft-shelled turtle

 

Fisheries:

History and reasons for the collapse of Amur fisheries

Russian fisheries

China fisheries

Sino-Mongolian fisheries on Lake Buir

Total catch in Russia (table)

Amur-Ussury Fishing rules

Fish vs Pollution

Salmon vs forestry

 

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