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Antibiotic Overuse Causing Species Extinction in China

Health Water quality Molluscs +5 more

CHINA - China Central Television (CCTV) on Tuesday exposed the overuse of drugs in farmed sea cucumber in Northeast China's coastal Liaoning province, which has tainted the nearby seawater and killed many sea creatures, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

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Sea cucumber farms abound in Dalian city's Pikou town, located on the coast of the Bohai Sea. It's no secret that drugs are used to keep farmed sea cucumbers healthy, the investigative report said.

Small bottles labeled ceftriaxone sodium, a type of antibiotic, are frequently dumped outside a farm in the town. Reporters learned that mariculture famers use several types of antibiotics and Chinese herbal concoctions to protect sea cucumbers from illness.

One farmer told reporters that they also spike the water with pesticide to kill organisms that might otherwise steal nutrients from sea cucumbers.

And sodium hypochlorite and clinical dextrane, all disinfectants, are used to clean up excrement from the sea creatures, he added.

Farmers dump this contaminated water into the sea every three or four days, undermining water quality near the fishing farms.

In general, the farmland is cleaned up every four years. After removing all sea cucumbers and draining the water, local farmers cover the land with lime, 150 to 160 kg per mu (666 sq meters), and then wait for waves to take the lime and wastes into the sea.

Dozens of dead fish have been seen floating on the sea when these large-scale cleanings are carried out.

In nearby areas, other sea creatures like squid and shrimp have been wiped out, a farmer said.

Sea cucumbers are considered nutritious in China and often used in soups.