* Weishan Lake, the largest freshwater lake in northern China, is also the center of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal — a world heritage site. However, local traditional industries were causing serious pollution in the lake.
* In contrast to the overdeveloped fisheries of the past, the local government has developed a new model of ecological fish farming, which is used to develop rural tourism.
* Weishan Lake currently covers an area of 1,266 square km with excellent water quality, as the local government implements the concept of “clear waters and lush mountains are irreplaceable resources” and promotes the development of high-quality fisheries.
A villager collects lotus roots near Weishan Lake in Weishan County, east China’s Shandong Province, Aug. 24, 2022. (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)
JINAN, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) — Weishan Lake is the largest freshwater lake in northern China and the center of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal — a world heritage site. However, local traditional industries were causing serious pollution in the lake.
The heavy pollution was a wake-up call for the local population – a reminder that natural resources must be conserved and used more sustainably.
Today, Weishan Lake in eastern China’s Shandong Province is alive and charming again.
Wild birds are seen at Weishan Lake in Weishan County, east China’s Shandong Province, Aug. 23, 2022. (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)
THE BIRDS ARE BACK
Together, Weishan and three other lakes form Nanxi Lake, and locals often refer to Nanxi Lake with its signature name, Weishan Lake.
About 40 years ago, Nanxi Lake was home to Baer’s Pochard, a national first-class protected diving duck in China. But these cute little elves gradually disappeared.
People soon found the answer to why these ducks disappeared. There were 4,000 sewage stations along the 53 rivers that flowed into Lake Nancy, discharging waste water into the lake. At that time, Weishan Lake was filled with nothing but smelly water, dirty foam and dead fish.
In recent years, a combination of administrative, legal and technological measures have been implemented to restore the ecological environment. The water area occupied by aquaculture has been reduced, some enterprises have been closed or relocated, and pollution discharge standards have been gradually increased.
Regional cooperation mechanisms have also been established. All cities and counties in the Nancy basin have signed agreements on pollution prevention and joint payment of environmental compensation.
In February 2021, people were surprised to encounter Baer’s Pochard again on Lake Nancy. Water quality has improved dramatically, as evidenced by the return of wild birds.
Aerial photo taken on Aug. 24, 2022 shows a view of Weishan Lake in Weishan County, east China’s Shandong Province. (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)
A NEW WAY TOWARDS
More environmental protection measures to protect the freshwater lake have been followed by the local conservation policy of “returning the ponds to the lake”, which means that fishing activities around the lake are strictly controlled. In recent years, the fishing areas around Weishan Lake have decreased by 218,700 mu (about 14,580 hectares).
Unlike the overdeveloped fisheries of the past, the local government has developed a new model of ecological fish farming, which is being used to develop rural tourism.
Aerial photo taken on Aug. 23, 2022 shows a fishery industrial park in Weishan County, east China’s Shandong Province. (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)
In early autumn, green lotus leaves grow all over Weishan Lake in Gaolou Township, Weishan County. Lotus roots have very little impact on water quality because they require a small amount of pesticides. After harvesting, their leftovers can be used as feed for crustaceans, helping to save on feed costs.
So far, the total area of lotus roots and other aquatic plants in Weishan County has reached 100,000 mu. Meanwhile, an area of about 45,000 mu has adopted the mixed cultivation technology of lotus roots and crabs.
Weishan Lake currently covers an area of 1,266 square kilometers with excellent water quality, as the local government implements the concept of “clear waters and lush mountains are irreplaceable resources” and promotes the high-quality development of fisheries.
Intelligent breeding robots are not the only stars in the newly built state-of-the-art fishery industrial park in Weishan County. Physical and biological filtration, disinfection, oxygenation, as well as denitrification facilities worked together to modernize fish farming.
According to Mou Changjun, director of the county’s fisheries and aquaculture practice center, 1.62 billion yuan (about 232 million US dollars) has been invested in the industrial park. Nine high-standard circulating water breeding workshops have been built in the center. The annual breeding capacity of the park with a total water area of 12,000 cubic meters can reach 5 billion fish potatoes.
Photography enthusiasts take photos of wild birds at Weishan Lake in Weishan County, east China’s Shandong Province, July 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)
Tourism also boosts local economic development.
In July, Weishan Lake was rated as a national 5A tourist attraction, and the number of visitors attracted to the lake increased to 300,000 that month.
Daguan Village is the gateway to Weishan Island, the largest island around the lake and the most popular tourist destination. “About 60 to 70 percent of all our villagers are engaged in tourism business, including restaurants, hotels, and selling lake products. The collective economy of our village has become an entity that can generate more than 600,000 yuan in annual income,” Yin said. Zhaoshan, the party leader of the village.
(Video reporters: Li Xiaobo and Zhao Xiaoyu; Video editors: Li Ziwei and Zhu Jianhui.) ■