A Chinese fisherman has netted a fortune after catching a critically endangered, but hugely prized, fish worth £300,000.The fisherman, whose identity has not been revealed, caught a Chinese Bahaba, or Giant Yellow Croaker, off the coast of Fujian province last week.
After a bidding war, a local fishmonger paid him three million yuan (£300,000) for the 176lb fish, or £1,700 a pound, according to the Strait News, a local newspaper in Fujian.
The fisherman told the newspaper he had found the fish floating on the surface of the sea and had “picked it up.” The size of the fish caught the attention of his fellow villagers, and the specimen was quickly identified. After the auction, the fisherman said he would use the windfall to buy a bigger boat.
The Chinese Bahaba (Bahaba taipingensis) can reach 6ft 7in in length and weigh more than 220 pounds. It is particularly prized for its swim bladder, which is used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to cure heart and lung ailments.
However, it has been fished almost to extinction, and its fisheries, from the Yangtze river estuary to the Pearl River in the south, have also been affected by pollution.
In 2010, a 50 year-old bahaba was caught in south China and sold for 3.45 million yuan. In 2008, a group of Hong Kong fishermen were delighted to sell a bahaba they had caught for HKD 20,000 (£1,637), until they discovered its true market value.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the Bahaba’s swim bladder “is highly appreciated for its medicinal properties and as a general tonic for health.”
However the conservation group says no spawning populations of the fish are known, and “given the heavy fishing pressure in the region, there are likely to be few or no refuges remaining for recovery.”
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