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Species diversity and use of biological resources

Sino-Mongolian fishery at Lake Buir

Related maps, pictures, links

Buir Lake is located at the border of Mongolia and China, and fishing is conducted here without clear bilateral agreements to prevent overfishing. Buir Lake straddles the Mongolia-China border, with 92 percent or 566 km2 of the lake area in Mongolia and eight percent or 49 km2 in China.  A separate clause was even written into a Sino-Mongolian agreement on the management of transboundary water bodies to hold separate consultations on Buir Lake fishing.
A government agreement between Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China permitted Chinese fishermen to conduct all fishing at Buir Lake in 1954-1964.  Beginning in 1965 Mongolian fishermen also fished Buir Lake, but at a lower intensity than the Chinese fishermen in the previous decade. 
The Chinese fished in Buir Lake for 14 years from 1973-1986 to supply food to the military.  Table compares the fish catch in Mongolia with that in China during this period .  It is clear that the catch is dependent on the skills of specialized fishermen and the types of fishing gear used.  An additional factor determining the size of the catch is that Mongolian fishermen were active only from November to March of every year.

Table   Buir Lake fish catch during 14 years from 1973-1986




Total catch

catch (tons)




percent of catch




Researchers have noted that protection and the sustainable use of fish and other aquatic fauna in the rivers and lakes of the Pacific basin of eastern Mongolia face many challenges.  These include breaches of fishing rules or regulations, uncontrolled catch during winter concentrations, exceeding annual quotas, discarding fish nets in lakes in large numbers causing increased mortality of fish and birds, killing of lake-bottom plants and disturbing of sediments by fish nets and loosening roots of aquatic plants, thereby degrading the lake ecosystem.


Chinese soft-shelled turtle

Dauria Steppe Global 200 ecoregion



Fish diversity


Daurian steppe


GIS: Charismatic species ranges


Fish nets at the steppe lake shore. Inner Mongolia. (Photo by E.Simonov)

Also look:

Species richness in Amur-Heilong River Basin

Kaluga sturgeon

Salmonid diversity

History and reasons for the collapse of Amur fisheries

China fisheries

Amur-Ussury Fishing rules

Fish vs Pollution


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