'King of freshwater fish', Chinese paddlefish in Yangtze River declared extinct

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Photo/Shetuwang

Jan. 3 (NBD) -- Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) living in the Yangtze River was declared extinct, according to a paper by experts at the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute.

In the paper which was published on December 23, 2019 on the online edition of international journal Science of The Total Environment, researchers said that the fish, often referred to as "king of freshwater fish" in China, may have gone extinct between 2005 and 2010.

Psephurus gladius could weigh as heavy as 5,000 kilograms and an adult fish could grow 7 to 8 meters long. It was among the 10 largest freshwater fish in the world and had existed for 150 million years.

It is the third species unique to the Yangtze River ecosystem to be declared extinct, following Baiji dolphin and reeves shad which were classified as functionally extinct in 2006 and 2015, respectively.

The last appearance of the Chinese paddlefish was reported in 2003 when scientists helped the fish return to the river and tried to track it with a boat. But the tracking efforts failed as the boat hit a reef.

The sad news of Chinese paddlefish's extinction immediately trended on Twitter-like platform Weibo. One user wrote, "I've never met you before. The moment I do, it's goodbye forever."


Email: lansuying@nbd.com.cn

Editor: Lan Suying