BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Miyun district in suburban Beijing is closing fish farms in the upstream rivers of the Miyun reservoir, the capital city's major reserve of drinking water.
The scenic reservoir nestled in the mountains of northeastern Beijing covers 188 square kilometers and has a storage capacity of 4.3 billion cubic meters.
Fish farming in the artificial lake was banned 15 years ago.
In 2003, Miyun cleared 35,000 hectares of fish farms in the lake. In response, locals went further into the mountains to open sturgeon ponds, a local specialty, wooed by fishing enthusiasts.
However, the latest move by the Miyun district government required them to close their businesses to ensure the water quality in the reservoir.
The remaining aquaculture consists of 71 fish ponds with an operating area of 41 hectares, located on banks within 50 meters to rivers that empty into the reservoir. All of them are scheduled to be shut down by the end of October for ecological restoration.
Zhu Xicai, deputy head of the district government, appreciated the farm owners' sacrifice since most owners had started to dismantle facilities in the ponds before the government's subsidy policy was announced.
He said the move was made after the government discovered that pollutants from the fish feed, medicine and wastewater generated from the businesses flowed into the reservoir, threatening the water safety.
Wang said he understood the importance of environmental protection.
Most local farmers rely on agriculture and hospitality business for income.