24-hour “battle” of a civilian fish-protection team
CHONGQING (CQNEWS) -- Yangtze River looks wider than usual after heavy rainfall. Two speed boats are galloping from a distance, and members of a civilian fish-protection team are on the boats. In 2014, due to the hate for illegal fishers in the Yangtze River, the civilian fish-protection team was founded under the guidance of the leader Liu Hong, aiming at the “Protection of Yangtze River”.
At 15:00, the reporter saw Liu Hong at his company in Youxi Town, Jiangjin District. Liu is the owner of a local construction company, but he is more famous as the leader of Jiangjin Honghu Fish-protection Volunteer Team. In April 2005, the State Council approved the establishment of the Rare and Endemic Fish National Nature Reserve in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, including 115 kilometers of natural river section above Diwei Yangtze River Bridge in Luohuang, Jiangjin; Liu’s home also lies within the nature reserve. In March 2014, due to the hate for illegal fishers, Liu led the founding of the team.
At 19:40, it was getting dark; and illegal fishing often happens at this time of a day. Liu and Cheng Liang, a team member, began patrol in the Yangtze River in Degan Town. “Look. Look.” Cheng Liang found two dead Topmouth culter (fish name) floating on the surface of the section in He’ai Village. They assumed that these fishes might die of electric shock of illegal fishers. Cheng Yongbin, a 52-year-old team member, said: “several years ago, there were so many illegal fishers using electric shock that ordinary fishermen could only catch few fishes.” The local fishermen couldn’t catch enough fish for a living, so they had no choice but to find another way to make a living.
At 20:13, it was dark. Liu Hong and Cheng Liang caught an old man preparing to cast a net on the spot beside Jingangtuo, Youxi Town. “Do you know that dense net is an illegal fishing gear? Fishing in the Yangtze with such a net is punishable by sentence!”
At 04:05 of the next day, the river was surging; there were many things floating on the surface. The speed boat drove at more than 50 miles per hour on patrol of the main stream. At this time, if anything hard on the surface bumps into the bottom of the boat, there would be noise. During the patrol in an inner river, Liu and his team members checked the engine, and found a dent on a fan of the propeller.
At 13:25, after sleeping for less than four hours, team members started their way back. It only took less than an hour to return at full speed. But it took three hours for them to get back, because they had to patrol on the way back.
At 14:23, team members discovered the bamboo poles and electric wires hidden in the grass by the river section in Baisha Town Aerospace Polytechnic College. Team members told the reporter that illegal electric fishing caused the biggest damage to the fish resources of Yangtze River. The illegal fishers were very cunning; catching them required frequent patrol and observation.
At 14:32, a citizen used a hand rod as well as three sea rods at Lvxi River, Baisha. Liu Hong went ashore, seized three sea rods, and let the fisher cut the string himself. And then Liu and his team members started driving, and preached to the fishers that one could only use one hand rod for recreational fishing.
At 16:13, team members returned to the wharf of Youxi Town, symbolizing the end of this patrol. Cheng Liang put ten more illegal nets seized this time into a big boat. “In the past six years, we solved thousands of cases, and summed up the experience. We must gather evidence and catch the illegal fishers; meanwhile we must ensure the illegal fishers’ safety,” Liu Hong said. Sometimes they may encounter with extreme situations. For example, illegal fishers would jump into the river to escape, and their team members must jump along to rescue the illegal fishers.
The 6-year “Protection of the Yangtze River” is not easy. Some people quitted, and some people joined the team. The remaining team members are still optimistic about the future. Recently, a new round of special crackdown on illegal fishing has been launched in the riverside areas; many departments went to the team for information. Liu Hong said: “we will stick to the protection of fishes in the Yangtze River, and hope to benefit more people.” (Translated by Xu Mengxue, Fathom Language Limited)