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Tuesday, 18-Sep-2007 01:44
News: Illegal Fishermen Kill Rare Giant Fish In China
Agence France-Presse reported:

BEIJING -- Illegal fishermen have killed a highly endangered freshwater fish in China 3.6 meters (12 feet) long and weighing 250 kilograms (550 pounds), state press reported Friday.

The Chinese paddlefish was the largest of its kind seen in six years, with very few sightings of the species in its native habitats of the Yangtze and Qiantang rivers recorded recently, Xinhua news agency said.

The species is dubbed the "giant panda of the rivers" due to its similarities with China's favorite animal in size and the fact that it is close to extinction in the wild, according to the report.

An employee at a nature reserve in Hubei province said two illegal boats caught the fish in the Yangtze River on Monday. A team from the reserve tried to take the fish, suffering wounds from six hooks, back into deep water but it died on Wednesday, the employee, Ma Daoyun, said.

"The case is rare because the fishermen continued trying to pull the fish from the water even after villagers warned them that the species was under top state protection," said Xiong Yuanhui, another worker at the reserve.

"Most fishermen would report to the reserve if they accidentally caught rare fish," he said.

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