Fish Sanctuary Projects in Yinggeling, Hainan
The communities around Yinggeling National Nature Reserve, Hainan are blessed with rivers’ rich and diverse resources. But as in the rest of the region, over the years, the water quality and fish population have been declining. The expansion of rubber tree farms, slash and burn agriculture and eucalyptus pulp plantations are causing soil erosion and pollution. Over-fishing and destructive fishing practices, such as the use of explosives and poison, have decimated fish populations. Some species such as the giant barb Spinibarbus caldwelli were even extirpated (locally extinct) in most local rivers.
Since 2007, Kadoorie Conservation China (KCC), a Department of KFBG, has been encouraging local communities to establish fish no-catch zones in order to recover fish populations and to limit their fishing for the increased fish population that strays outside these fish sanctuaries. There are now 11 village-led fish sanctuaries established in rivers around Yinggeling Nature Reserve. Villagers in these areas can now observe more and bigger fish. Since fish poisoning has been, almost, stopped as a result of the fish sanctuary rules, villagers feel safer about their drinking water and their livestock. Residents of Haikou, the capital of Hainan, may not know it but they also benefit from the cleaner river water which originates from the mountains of Yinggeling.
There is an on-going campaign, “More with Less: YGL Fish Sanctuaries” that aims to:
- Expand the number of Fish Sanctuaries and establish a network of Fish Sanctuaries in rivers around YGL Nature Reserve.
- Raise community awareness of the value of conserving natural resources, particularly water resources, by making the Fish Sanctuaries project more visible.
- Seek policy support from local government units to help villagers to enforce the Fish Sanctuary rules.