Overfishing and increasing pollution are destroying one of the world's great fisheries in the East China Sea, new studies show, confirming the fears of fishermen and environmentalists.
Despite the fishing ban introduced in the sea area during the fish spawning season to sustain aquatic species for over a decade long, fishing resources in the Zhoushan Fishery, one the world's largest natural fishing farms, is unable to support the livelihood of 210,000 local fishermen, according to the fishery authorities in east China's Zhejiang Province.
The number of people employed in the Zhoushan fishing industry has fallen from a high of 250,000 to an estimated 210,000 now.
Due to squabbles over the resources in the East China Sea among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, Chinese fishermen traditionally living on deep-sea fishing have returned to inshore sea areas for fishing to avoid confrontations.
Over 90 percent of deep-sea fishing operation in Zhejiang Province has been affected, resulting in a reduction of 450,000 tons in annual sea fish output.
This has aggravated overfishing in the 20,800 square kilometers Zhoushan Fishery, which provided a tenth of China's total catch of sea fish in 2002. The Zhoushan Fishery Bureau's statistics showed that the annual catch dropped from over 1.3 million tons in 2001 to 980,000 tons last year, and the quality of fish species netted was degraded.