China’s longest river is running out of fish, threatening industry and agriculture around the river basin that account for roughly 30-40% of China’s GDP, according to the WWF

China’s longest river is running out of fish

By Lily Kuo — April 9, 2013

Overfishing, pollution and infrastructure projects are quickly depleting the amount of fish in China’s Yangtze River, according to Chinese environmental officials. The consequences are environmental and economic–without enough fish the river’s eco-system could collapse, threatening industry and agriculture around the river basin that account for roughly 30-40% of China’s GDP, according to the WWF.

According to a report on April 1, Zhao Yimin, head of the fishery resource office with China’s ministry of agriculture told Global Times,”The ecological balance of the river has already collapsed.” Zhao said, noting that further exploitation could mean a recovery for the river may be too late.Since 2003, Chinese authorities have imposed an annual three-month moratorium on fishing in attempt to prevent this fate. Cao Wenxuan, a fisheries expert at the Chinese Academy of Science, says that only a 10-year moratoriumwould be enough to reverse damage caused by toxins dumped into the river by local residents and factories, and infrastructure projects like the Three Gorges Dam (pdf), which change the temperature and disrupt the ecology of the river. ”At current rates of species reduction… freshwater fish are expected to disappear completely within 40 years,” Cao told Caixin last year.

Environmentalists and locals have long feared that the 4,000 mile (6,400 kilometers) river, China’s longest, has been over-fished and over-polluted through the years of China’s industrialization–just another item on the country’s long list of environmental problems that include water shortages, disappearing riversdead animals, and air pollution. In 2011, fish harvests totaled 50,000 tons (45,300 tonnes) compared to over 400,000 tons in the 1950s and about 100,000 tons in the 1990s, according to China’s ministry of agriculture.

The Yangtze spans 19 provinces, including some of China’s largest cities like Shanghai, Chengdu and Chongqing, and the Yangtze river basin accounts for up to 60% of all fish eaten in China and half of the country’s crop production. But the economic cost of the river’s destruction doesn’t only affect China. Economic activity generated by the Yangtze river basin made up 3% of global GDP in 2010 and could contribute 8% to global economic output by 2050, according to a study last year by Frontier Economics.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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