A fishy story……..featuring….PaddlefishTourists walk past a preserved paddlefish on display at the Yangtze River Fishery research Institute in Jingzhou, China. This critically endangered species lives in China’s Yangtze River and is a contender for the largest freshwater fish in the world. Unfortunately, overfishing and the dam construction have decimated paddlefish populations. None have been seen in the wild since 2003 and scientists worry the species may already be extinct.
No young Chinese paddlefish have been seen since 1995. Even if evidence surfaces that some paddle fish remain, scientists fear that their numbers are already so low that they will be unable to reproduce successfully. Chinese paddlefish are thought to be the longest by many to be the worlds largest freshwater fish with reports of individuals reaching a mind boggling 23 feet in length and weighing half a ton . They have long silver grey bodies, very large mouths and a long wide snout that resembles a paddle. The snouts contain sensors that help them locate the small fish and crustaceans they survive on. Paddle fish used to be called sword billed sturgeons and were once commonly seen and caught in China’s Yangtze River. They were a welcome addition to the dinner table. The construction of Gezhouba dam in the 1980s forever altered the Yangtze River habitat of paddlefish and other notable species. No hope left then when the Three Gorges Dam was built! Meanwhile miles away in the Mississippi, there is a very different attack on the paddlefish, albeit apparently not life threatening.
There now follows another video listen and watch carefully I might set you questions next time!
The Dyfi Osprey Project and the Scottish wildlife Trust have kindly given their permission for us to post still and video images from their webcams. To visit their sites please click on the relevant link. Loch of the Lowes. Dyfi Osprey Project.