With fossil records dating back millions of years, the Chinese paddlefish, which had been listed as a first-level protected animal of the People's Republic of China since 1983, has been wiped out. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences in Wuhan have now declared the Psephurus gladius or Chinese paddlefish as extinct. The results of their study were published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, where the study authors went on to outline why they think the large fish has now gone extinct.
A report in Phys.org revealed that the large freshwater fish which was around 10 feet in length on average, could grow twice the length as well. The fish got their name from their large, protruding snout and was a native of the Yangtze River and its tributaries in China, the report further revealed.
According to researchers, the fish was sometimes referred to as the 'panda of the Yangstze River' and was a popular catch till the 1970s. Study authors suggested that the extinction of the Chinese paddlefish was due to overfishing and a loss of habitat.
The report further revealed that the study team studied fish catch records and field studies between 2017 and 2018. The report found no evidence of the prehistoric fish, stating that the last known sighting of a live specimen was in 2003 and a dead sighting took place in 2007.
While the paddlefish was prominent in several parts of the river system, the building of the Gezhouba Dam in 1981 prevented the spawning of the paddlefish, the researchers further revealed, adding that not only has the fish has gone extinct, but since there are no specimens in captivity and no tissue samples ever stored, it cannot be revived through cloning.
A National Geographic report quoted study leader Qiwei Wei of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences as saying that the extinction of the fish is "a reprehensible and an irreparable loss."