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Artificial Breeding of Bighead Fish Succeeds in NW China

Chinese aquatic experts have successfully bred 36,800 fries of Bighead fish, an endangered species endemic to the Tarim River in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.


The fries, after about half a month, were freed into the Kezir Reservoir in Aksu Saturday.


"We choose the reservoir because its good ecological environment is desirable for the fish to grow and spawn," said Ren Mulian, a professor with Heilongjiang Fishery Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.


When grown up, Bighead fish, or big head schizothracin, can be as long as 1.5 meters, weighing more than 25 kilograms with nearly 40 years of life span, Ren said.


The 1,321 km-long Tarim River runs west to east along the northern edge of the Taklimakan Desert, China's largest desert, and flows into the Taitema Lake.


The river once abounded in Bighead fish. However, in the past 20 years, the fish has been on the verge of extinction due to excessive fishing by locals and water projects along the tributaries of the river.


To save the endangered fish, experts from the region and the Heilongjiang Fishery Research Institute began research and protection of the fish in 1992.


In 1999, China started a project aiming to save the Bighead fish in Xinjiang, and the artificial breeding began in 2003.


(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2005)

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