China Quake Costs Fisheries $90 Million
Fisheries officials say China's most devastating earthquake in decades, which killed some 70,000, people, may have cost Sichuan's aquaculture industry more than $90 million.
While the large southwestern China province is not a major center for fish production or exports, it has abundant water resources with many reservoirs, lakes and rivers and is one of the country's main sources of germplasm, used in aquaculture R&D.
But many of these water bodies have disappeared or have been completely reformed by the 8-magnitude quake on May 12 and its subsequent aftershocks.
Reservoirs have also been drained to prevent their potential collapse and the impact on transportation has been immense.
How to deal with the subsequent dead or dying fish is now an urgent issue according to the latest information this week on the Chinese aquaculture Web site www.china-seafood.com.cn.
"According to the data provided by the local fishery department, the total area of damaged fish ponds in the earthquake zone is 21,495 hectares, 66,055 square meters of damaged production facilities and administration buildings and 9,693.4 metric tons of adult fish and 951 metric tons of seedlings. The economic losses have hit 630 million RMB (US$90 million)," the Web site reports.
"Some water bodies have even dried out and caused a large amount of dead fish and the inconvenient transport situation means it is difficult to bring proper sanitization equipment to the area."
Total annual aquaculture production in Sichuan in 2006 was 481,400 metric tons.
Poor transportation is further damaging China's exports to Japan, which were already suffering a downturn following a number of recent health scares.
Japan says 90 percent of its pickles, chili peppers, peppers and broad bean paste come from Sichuan and it is having difficulty sourcing these items since the quake.