Great Rivers

Fish Conservation on China’s Yangtze River

Four hundred million people depend on the Yangtze River, China’s principal waterway, for fresh water. © Brian Ickes/USGS

Brian Ickes (second from left) spent 10 days in May providing technical assistance to the GRP’s Yangtze partners who are initiating a new method to quantify fish populations. © Dr. Liu Mingdian/YRFRI

There is little scientific information on the basin’s more than 340 fish species, and many populations are starting to decline. © Brian Ickes/USGS

The trip builds on previous GRP-sponsored efforts by Ickes and Dr. Yao Yin to help Chinese scientists develop a method for assessing fish communities in the Yangtze River basin. © Xiaoming Sun/TNC

While in China, Ickes also participated in a two-year sonic telemetry study designed to learn more about the life histories of four species of Asian carp, whose populations are declining. © Brian Ickes/USGS

Silver (shown here), bighead, black and grass carp have been important sources of protein throughout central China. © Dr. Duan Xinbin/YRFRI

Small transmitters were surgically implanted into the abdomens of 58 carp, which were then released into the Yangtze. © Brian Ickes/USGS

The transmitter broadcasts a signal that is picked up by 36 receivers on navigation buoys (shown here) spaced out along a portion of the river. The receivers record each carp’s location. © Brian Ickes/USGS

Chinese scientists hope to learn what is limiting reproduction and survival of Asian carp and to use that information to help stop their decline. © Brian Ickes/USGS

The sonic receiver network can be used to study other fish species, and data on similar species can be compared across great river systems including the Mississippi River (shown here). © Erika Nortemann/TNC