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Artificial breeding of endangered carps successful in Yunnan
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2009-08-27
 CAS ichthyologists have been successful in their efforts to cultivate the golden-line barbel (Sinocyclocheilus grahami), an indigenous fish species on the verge of extinction in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

  The fish is one of the endemic species in the Dianchi Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Yunnan. Until the 1960s, the species was a major cash fish for the Lake. During the latest 30 years, however, it has been disappearing due to the water quality degradation and introduction of alien species of the lake. Only a small number of populations have survived in some adjacent springs often associated with Buddhist temples. Now it is under the State's Second-grade Protection, and enlisted in the country's Red Data Book and IUCN Red List.

  A part of the drive to restore and conserve the indigenous biodiversity of Dianchi jointly supported by the Yunan Provincial Government, the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank, a research team led by Prof. YANG Junxing, deputy director of the CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology, started breeding surveys in 2000 on the distribution, population, ecological behavior and habitats of the fish.

  They have also carried out research into the ex situ conservation, population restoration, reproduction in captivity, sustainable exploitation of the species in dozens of breeding pools they have constructed.

  Since March 2007, five individuals from the female breeding stock and six individuals of the male breeding stock were selected for the reproduction experiments, obtaining a total number of 1,600 eggs. So far, more than 100,000 third-generation fries have been cultivated in ponds, and more than 5,000 of them have been re-introduced into the Lake with a survival rate up to 90%.

  According to the experts, the feat has positive influences for the overall operation of biodiversity restoration for the Lake. First, it demonstrates the efforts to conserve the endemic species and avoid extinction. Second, the re-introduction of the fries back to the Lake can be helpful for the local restoration of indigenous biodiversity. Third, it can be helpful in shifting the focus of fisheries from alien species to native ones.
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