The Sea Area Near Caofeidian in Tangshan May Contain Large-scale Oyster Reefs in Urgent Need of Protection
2020/6/13 17:32:00 本站

As a coastal city, the daily diet of residents in Tangshan City, Hebei Province, is bound to have all kinds of seafood. There are a lot of wild oyster reefs in the waters near Tangshan, and many local fishermen make a living by fishing for oysters. At the same time, there are large wetlands in Tangshan, where there are many shellfish. Every May and June is the season of oyster harvest. Local residents often go to the beach to dig oysters spontaneously.


Although wild shellfish such as oysters are delicious, oysters not only have a fat body, but also have many important ecological functions and ecological service values. For example, oyster reefs can purify water, provide habitat, protect coastline from erosion, etc.


In the past century, 85% of the world’s oyster reefs have degraded and disappeared, and the situation in China is not optimistic. Historically, China's coastal zone is rich in oyster reef resources. However, due to over-harvesting, water pollution, coastal zone development and other factors, oyster reef, a coastal habitat, also faces threats.


I. The history of the disappearance of oyster reef is about to repeat


According to historical records, Caofeidian of Tangshan in Hebei Province also has a large amount of oyster reef resources.


A social media account article "Caofeidian released" mentioned: oyster mountain recorded in historical materials disappeared due to some reasons. In recent years, a new oyster mountain has grown on the original site of the oyster mountain recorded in the data. It is self-evident that the "later for some reason" here refers specifically to what caused it to be "the disappearance of oyster mountain" caused by man-made reasons such as overfishing and pollution to marine development.


Today Caofeidian still has a lot of wild oyster resources. According to the description of the Caofeidian District Tourism Bureau, in the annual oyster harvest season, a pier in Caofeidian is lively, fishing boats dock in an orderly manner, the pier is full of people, and the crowd is bustling. A dozen fishing boats that had just returned from the offshore docked at the pier, and the fishing boats were filled with live oysters large and small.


Mankind needs sustainable development. If humans continue to enjoy the gifts of nature for granted, the phenomenon of over-fishing will not be controlled in time, and the oyster reefs that should be living in this area of the sea may disappear soon.


II. Caofeidian wild oyster reef urgently needs to be protected


Oyster reef is a kind of biological reef formed by a large number of oysters fixed and growing on the surface of hard substrate. It is widely distributed in temperate and subtropical estuaries and coastal areas. Oyster reef, as one of the important coastal habitats, is widely distributed in the intertidal zone and shallow water tide of temperate and subtropical sea areas in China.


According to China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF)’s knowledge, Tianjin’s Dashentang and Tangshan’s Caofeidian share a sea area, just over 80 kilometers apart. A large number of oyster reefs found in Caofeidian Port may belong to a large oyster reef together with Tianjin Dashentang, and together form a reef area. There may be a large-scale submarine shellfish ecosystem nearby.


Such a precious potential shellfish ecosystem will play a key role in the development of local biodiversity, but due to the lack of awareness of protection, local people only see business opportunities and delicious food in this oyster reef.


It is understood that the domestic attention to oyster reefs is relatively small, the literature is limited, and the scientific research is relatively lacking. Due to the lack of systematic surveys and data, the distribution, current status and threatened degree of domestic oyster reefs are mostly in an unknown state. The protection, restoration and sustainable use of reef resources have caused great difficulties.


The CBCGDF volunteers team recently conducted a field survey on the protection of seagrass beds near Tangshan. During the inspection, the team discovered that there were still a large number of fishing boats constantly pouring into the waters near Caofeidian, fishing for shellfish such as oysters. The scale of these fishing boats is not small, and a boat can often take a considerable number of live oysters.


Oysters have nutritional value for humans, and at the same time, they are even more invaluable for biodiversity conservation. Oysters play an important role in maintaining marine biodiversity and also have many important ecosystem service values.


III. The investigation and protection of oyster reef resources in the Bohai Bay must be urgent


As mentioned earlier, the current status of the distribution of oyster reef resources in China is unclear. Many oyster reefs resources have disappeared silently in over catch and overfishing, leaving no trace. The oyster reef resources that have disappeared cannot be recovered, but the existing oyster reef resources can still be protected, leaving a last space for shellfish to survive.


CBCGDF recommends that relevant departments should carry out a systematic survey of domestic oyster reef resources as soon as possible and establish a database. Carry out timely and effective restoration of the damaged oyster reef resources, especially in areas like Tangshan that are famous for their oysters, find out the specific situation, and carry out protection and restoration in a timely manner to preserve this ecosystem of special significance. In the process of investigation and restoration, shellfish resources such as oysters are included in the protection of marine diversity and biodiversity.


Protecting oyster reef resources requires not only the efforts of professionals, but also the participation of the general public. CBCGDF recommends that the public change their eating habits or choose products from farms when buying shellfish and other oysters. For fishermen or related practitioners who live on shellfish seafood such as oyster fishing, they can change the target to farm oysters and develop artificial fishing grounds, and no longer consume valuable wild resources. For areas rich in oyster resources, knowledge about precious wild oyster resources should be popularized as soon as possible, including the important role of such resources in marine biodiversity.


Legislation on the protection of wild marine resources should also be implemented as soon as possible, intensify law enforcement, and increase the penalties for acts of destruction of wild resources.


Everyone has a responsibility to protect the ocean. Human beings must have a sense of restraining their own behavior, leaving some precious natural resources for future generations, and don’t let everything be destroyed by this generation.

Oysters for sale at the market (Photo credit: Caofeidian District Tourism Bureau)

Local oysters in Caofeidian (Photo credit: Caofeidian District Tourism Bureau)

Original Chinese article:

By / Maggie, Modi