China imposes total fishing ban in main rivers and seas for sustainable development
Songhua River in Jilin Province, China. /CFP
Songhua River in Jilin Province, China. /CFP

Songhua River in Jilin Province, China. /CFP

Three of the primary river basins of China- Haihe, Songhua and Liaohe closed for fishing for two and a half months from noon on May 16, according to China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

It means the four seas of China - the Bohai Sea, the Huanghai Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and the seven major river basins - the Yellow, Huaihe, Yangtze and Pearl rivers, and the aforementioned three, have completely banned fishing.

The fishing closed season

An ancient Chinese book Yi Zhou Shu recorded a rule in Xia and Shang dynasties (2070 BC-1045 BC), it wrote “during the three months of summer, fishing nets shall not enter rivers and lakes, so the fish and turtles can grow.” In the following dynasties, different rules were implemented for a same purpose – to protect marine and freshwater environments and support sustainable development.

Fishery largely depends on natural resources. To continue protect the aquatic biodiversity, China established fishing closed season and fishing closed area in 1979, and then started implementing a seasonal marine fishing moratorium system since 1995. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has further adjusted and improved the fishing ban system, covering the main sea areas and seven inland river basins such as the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Pearl River.

On May 1 this year, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China announced the annual summer sea fishing ban in China has begun, which overs the Bohai, the Yellow and the East China Seas and the waters north of 12 degrees north latitude in the South China Sea (including the Beibu Gulf in south China). It will last for three to four months depending on certain areas and fishing nets used.

Strict regulations for better harvests

On the first day of September, 2022, over 1900 fishing boat at Shidao fishing port in Rongcheng, east China's Shandong Province left the docks and sped to the Bohai Sea to start their harvest .

“Comparing historical data in the last five years, we found that the population of Japanese Spanish mackerel, small yellow croaker, silver pomfret, the beltfish and crabs have increased,” according to Liu Shude from the General Station of Fishery Development and Resources Conservation of Shandong Province.

Compared with the five years from 2012 to 2016, the density of mesopelagic small fish resources increased by 1.8 times during the five years from 2017 to 2021. With the continuous implementation of the seasonal finishing ban, the conservation results of fishery resources can be seen clearly, and the fishermen have also seen an increase in the fish caught.

For more:

Annual summer sea fishing ban begins in China

Rare species resurgent in Yangtze River after fishing ban

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at

Search Trends