Usually people try to pull fish out of the water. Yesterday more than 100 people gathered in Haigeng Park on the shores of Dianchi Lake and dumped fish into the water. The self-described environmental activists unloaded five tons of live fish in an attempt to replenish populations in the lake, Yunnan Net is reporting.
The group raised 30,000 yuan from small individual donations in order to buy the fish. Their goal, according to an organizer surnamed Wang, was to "protect the environment while increasing wildlife" in Kunming's befouled lake.
The activist ceremony may have been a largely symbolic act aimed at raising awareness of Dianchi Lake's declining fish stocks rather than a solution to the problem. Whether the newly-added fish will survive is unknown.
The five tons of fish added by the activists is only a tiny fraction of the 5,000-10,000 tons that fishermen reportedly caught during a recent 16-day fishing season. More than 4,000 people participated when a three-year fishing ban was lifted during National Day.
From September 25 through October 10, anglers with proper licenses were allowed to commercially fish on Dianchi. The lake has been closed to fishing due to concerns that aquatic populations were rapidly on the decrease from years of water eutrophication.
Billions of yuan have been spent on lake rehabilitation efforts that have ranged from closing nearby factories, creating surrounding wetlands and introducing invasive species. Dianchi has been suffering from algae blooms that are destroying the lake ecosystems by depleting the water's oxygen content since the 1980s.
The activists may also have inadvertently upstaged local authorities at the Kunming Dianchi Lake Management Bureau, who plan to introduce 200,000 carp into the lake over the next two months. An annual fish release event is organized by the Kunming government and to date has released 500 tons of live carp, but yesterday's citizen-organized version may have been the first of its kind.
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