The wild Chinese sturgeon (acipenser sinensis), one of the world’s oldest living species, is on the verge of extinction, a new study has found.
The fish, which is believed to have existed for over 140 million years, has become critically endangered species just like China’s Giant Panda.
The fish weighs between 441 pounds to 1,100 pounds (200 kg to 500 kg) on average. The fish is listed under ‘China’s Class One Protected Animals’.
The experts say China’s booming economy, high developmental work including construction of dams, rising pollution and last but not the least increasing boat traffic in the Yangtze River have radically lowered the number of the fish and continuously posing threat to their population.
The population of Chinese sturgeons has reduced from around thousands in the 1980s to about 100.
During the research, the scientists discovered that the Chinese sturgeon did not reproduce naturally in 2013.
“We did not find any sturgeon eggs in the river water area downstream of Gezhou Dam in Hubei Province from October 31 to December 28 in 2013,” said Wei Qiwei, from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.
For laying their eggs, the Chinese wild stureons swim from sea water to the river when they become mature.
The study, started last year in early August, showed that there was no presence of young sturgeons that swam along the Yangtze River to the sea. August is considered to be the time when the young fish normally swim downstream to the sea waters for laying eggs.
According to the scientists, the significant decline in the numbers is due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss and degraded water quality because of construction of dam.
Scientists highlight that if the dam construction and the rate of pollution is not checked then they could seriously threaten the rare species of fish to extinction.