A fish breeder who recently released 70,000 puffer fish fry into China's mighty Yangtze River hopes to revitalize the puffer population.
48-year-old Chen Wei heads a fisheries professional cooperative in Taizhou, a medium-sized city in China's Zhejiang province. “I was bought up on the Yangtze River and now it's my turn to give something back,” stated Chen to a reporter from ThePaper.cn. “I want the mother river to be full of life forever.”
Chen's way of “giving back” is by single-handedly restocking the river with puffer fish. While it's too soon to know if his efforts will bear fruit, at least he's making an effort at his own expense: the 70,000 puffer fish fry he recently released into the river cost 1 yuan each, or the equivalent of $11,000 in total!
As a child, Chen recalls seeing many puffer fish when he visited the river's shore with his grandfather. Due to pollution in the Yangtze River, however, it's rare to see any puffer fish in the river nowadays. Saddened by the decline of this signature fish species, Chen states he's glad to spend some of his own funds so that future generations can see puffer fish in the Yangtze again.
These images taken by photographer Jia Hongwei show Chen Wei and an assistant releasing bags of puffer fish fry into the river's Gaogang section. Chen plans to return later this year to release a further 30,000 puffer fish fry into the river.