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Yangtze Sturgeon Achieves First Artificial Ovulation in Chongqing

By TAN XINYU|Mar 29,2024

Yangtze sturgeon eggs at Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 26, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

With the joint effort of researchers, the Yangtze sturgeon successfully underwent artificial ovulation in Chongqing for the first time.

The Yangtze sturgeon, found in the lower Jinsha River and upper Yangtze River, as well as major tributaries, is experiencing a significant population decline due to overfishing and river pollution. In 2022, the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the species extinct in the wild, and it is under first-class national protection.

"That's it! I knew it had potential since last year," exclaimed Wang Fei, head of the research group at Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute, with excitement.

Recently, a Yangtze Sturgeon lay peacefully at the institute's Shuanghekou base on a simple mobile platform measuring about two meters long and half a meter wide. Water continuously flew into its gills from the basin, aiding its respiration. Researchers engaged in the artificial breeding of rare fish species in the Yangtze River, also known as "fish dads," gathered around, using a technique similar to artificial respiration to press at a fixed frequency, assisting this highly anticipated Yangtze sturgeon in ovulation.

"The institution has begun the research of artificial breeding techniques for the Yangtze sturgeon since 2013. While there have been spawning events in previous years, the eggs formed low-quality clumps. This year, however, we have more successful results," said Wang.

"This is a promising start. It'd be fantastic if we achieve fertilization and hatching this time."

Wang Fei checks and comforts the newly transported Yangtze sturgeon in the tank at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 21, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

The transported Yangtze sturgeons are awaiting spawning at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 21, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

Before administering the ovulation-inducing drugs, the "fish dads" verified the Yangtze sturgeon's identification numbers and recorded them at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 22, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

After the Yangtze sturgeon receives the ovulation-inducing drugs, the "fish dads" calm their emotions at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 22, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

The "fish dads" stimulate ovulation in the Yangtze sturgeon using a technique resembling artificial respiration at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 26, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

Water flows toward the gills of the Yangtze sturgeon, ensuring smooth respiration during spawning at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 26, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

The Yangtze sturgeon eggs are successfully spawned at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 26, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

The "fish dads" injected prepared Yangtze sturgeon sperm into the eggs at the Shuanghekou base of Wanzhou Fisheries Research Institute on March 26, 2024. (Photo/Xie Zhiqiang)

(Ren Xiaoyu, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)


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