URUMQI, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Local companies and a government department have been punished for harvesting artemia, brine shrimp, in the largest salt lake in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
According to the regional government on Friday, the water conservancy bureau of Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture issued fishing permit to a biological products company .
Brine shrimp is one of the most important species in Ebinur that helps to purify the lake and provides food for migrant birds. Due to its high price on the global market, over 1,000 fishermen swarm to the lake from August to November every year.
Located in the southwestern part of Junggar Basin, Ebinur has shrunk rapidly due to increasing demand for water for irrigation and industry since the 1970s. The vast barren lake bed has resulted in regular sandstorms.
Home to a variety of endangered species, the lake was listed as a national nature reserve in 2007.
Local government said illegal fishing has been stopped in the lake. Party and government leaders at various levels have also been appointed as river or lake chiefs for better protection.