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A three-month crackdown on illegal fishing has started on Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake, in the eastern province of Jiangxi on Sunday.

The Ministry of Agriculture and local provincial government assembled inspectors from fishery management, police and transportation departments for the crackdown on illegal fishing on the lake.

They will target electric nets, high-power snail nets, motorized trawls and other illegal fishing methods.

There are about 60,000 fishermen along the Yangtze, and half of them find livings around the Poyang and Dongting lakes, in the middle reaches of Yangtze, said Yi Yanrong, director of Yangtze fishing at the Ministry of Agriculture.

"We face heavy tasks to protect the aquatic resources along the Yangtze," he said.

There are about 1,000 Yangtze cowfish, an endangered subspecies of the finless porpoise in the Yangtze River, and half of them live in the two lakes, he said.

Xiong Shangming, a fisherman at Poyang, said some fishermen use high-power machines to catch snails.

"The snails are the fundamental resources in Poyang. If the snails are gone, the lake would get muddy, and lots of fish feed on the Poyang snails," he said, "the harsher the crackdown, the better."

Similar crackdown will also take place on the Dongting Lake, in central China's Hunan Province.