Chinese man jailed for over three years for catching one little fish

A man from southwest China has been given prison sentence of more than three years for catching and killing a small fish, local media reported.

Li Licai and partner Tang Yongxiang were caught electrofishing in the Yangtze in Luzhou city, Sichuan province by police earlier this year.

Among their 7kg of catch, there was a baby 50-gramme high-fin banded shark, which is listed as Chinese category II endangered species, the local news portal newslz reported via its Weibo account.

A local court ruled on Friday that Li was guilty of poaching and killing endangered wildlife.

Because he had a previous conviction for harbouring a criminal and was still on probation for that offence, the court ruled that he should be jailed for three years and two months.

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Tang was also sentenced to seven months in prison for the same crime. They were each fined 2,000 yuan (US$300).

Killing endangered species can result in up to 10 years’ imprisonment according to Chinese law.

The high-fin banded shark was added to the protected species list because its numbers have declined dramatically due to pollution, overfishing and dam construction, which prevents it reaching its spawning grounds.

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The species – known as Myxocyprinus asiaticusis – was given its name because it resembles a shark andis popular in the aquarium trade.

Poaching to satisfy this demand has further diminished its numbers.

Electrofishing which involves using two electrodes to produce electric currents to shock and paralyse fish is also illegal, regardless of the species caught.

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