Once almost extinct wild large yellow croakers have returned to Zhoushan in East China's Zhejiang province, local media reported on Dec 29.
The latest survey showed that the number of wild large yellow croakers and their eggs in Zhoushan have significantly increased over previous years.
"My fishing boat purchased more than 500 kilograms of wild large yellow croakers during the latest trade," said Hu Pengqi, who owns an aquatic products store in Putuo district.
Hu added that he has bought more than 2 metric tons of wild large yellow croakers this year, double the amount last year. The largest wild large yellow croaker he purchased, which weighed 2.6 kg, sold for nearly 30,000 yuan ($4,708).
The wild large yellow croaker from Zhoushan is reputed as the national fish. The fish is highly popular because it has plump flesh and few bones.
In the 1960s, when large yellow croakers were commonly seen in the East China Sea, tens of thousands of fishermen from Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian would gather in Daiqu Ocean in Zhoushan during the fishing season.
This spectacle lasted only until the 1970s and wild large yellow croakers were rarely seen since. In 2014, the annual output of large yellow croakers fell to the lowest with only 402 tons harvested from around Zhejiang.
"Reconstructing the habitat of wild large yellow croakers is the only way to revive their population in Zhoushan," said Yan Xiaojun, Party secretary of Zhejiang Ocean University, which started focusing on this task four years ago.
The university has also been cultivating yellow croakers in farms before releasing them to the wild to boost the population.
Zhoushan has been taking measures to protect and restore its fish resources in recent years, including enacting a fishing ban in summer, breeding wild yellow croakers, and restoring the marine ecological environment.
Hu Pengqi holding the largest wild large yellow croaker he purchased this year. [Photo/WeChat account: zjzsrbs]