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Challenges to saving China’s freshwater biodiversity: Fishery exploitation and landscape pressures

  • Yushun ChenEmail author
  • Xiao Qu
  • Fangyuan Xiong
  • Ying Lu
  • Lizhu Wang
  • Robert M. Hughes
Perspective

Abstract

China has over 1320 freshwater fish species, 877 of which are endemic. In recent decades, over-exploitation and landscape pressures have threatened them and led to a severe aquatic biodiversity crisis. In response, large-scale fishing bans have been promulgated to protect freshwater biodiversity in major Chinese rivers since the early 1980s. Here, we present the historical background and current challenges to the fishing bans. Implementing large-scale fishing bans may help improve China’s current freshwater biological resources and biodiversity to some extent. But implementing fishing bans alone is not sufficient to solve the crisis because of shortcomings of the current bans and expanding human pressures in most river basins. Thus, we recommend regulating other anthropogenic pressures, expanding duration and extent of current fishing regulations, establishing a comprehensive monitoring program, and initiating basin-scale ecological rehabilitation. These programs are also needed in other developing countries facing similar biodiversity crises and human pressures.

Keywords

Ecological rehabilitation Freshwater biodiversity Inland fishery regulations Landscape pressures 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grants Y62302, Y45Z04, Y55Z06, QYZDB-SSW-SMC041, and ZDRW-ZS-2017-3-2), WWF (Grants 10002550 and 10003581), and State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology (Grants 2016FBZ10 and 2019FBZ02).

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yushun Chen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xiao Qu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fangyuan Xiong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ying Lu
    • 1
  • Lizhu Wang
    • 3
  • Robert M. Hughes
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Hydrobiology & State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and BiotechnologyChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.International Joint Commission & University of Michigan School for Environment and SustainabilityAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Amnis Opes Institute & Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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