In the first half of 2018, DONG Ruishan and other illegal fishers used prohibited fishing gear with a mesh size of less than 3 mm to illegally fish and sell Yangtze River eel fries in the mainstream of the Yangtze River. Illegal purchasers including WANG Xiaopeng knew that the eel fries of Yangtze River were obtained from illegal fishing. They purchased the eel fries separately or established a partnership organization to purchase eel fries through the signing of partnership agreements and joint investment. They jointly invested in the acquisition and offer for sell, sharing the illegal profits. QIN Libing knew the eel fries that WANG Xiaopeng and others sold to him were illegally caught in the Yangtze River but still made repeated acquisition. In July 2019, the Taizhou People's Procuratorate filed a civil public interest lawsuit on the grounds that 59 people including WANG Xiaopeng, DONG Ruishan, and QIN Libing illegally fished, sold, and purchased eel fries of Yangtze River, damaged the ecological resources of the Yangtze River and harmed the public interest, and petitioned that the 59 people including WANG Xiaopeng, DONG Ruishan and Qin Libing, were jointly and severally liable for the damage caused to the ecological resources.
The Nanjing Intermediate People's Court held in the first instance that illegal fishers such as DONG Ruishan illegally caught Yangtze eel fries in the waters of the Yangtze River within the prohibited fishing periods, caused damage to biodiversity and are liable for compensation. A complete chain of interests has been formed between illegal purchasers such as WANG Xiaopeng and illegal fishers, which jointly cause damage to ecological resources, and shall bear joint and several liability for compensation. In the judgment of the first instance, 13 illegal purchasers including WANG Xiaopeng were ordered to compensate more than 8.5 million Yuan for the loss of ecological resources caused by illegal trading of eel fries; QIN Libing, DONG Ruishan and other purchasers and fishermen shall be liable for corresponding compensation or joint and several liability with the direct purchaser based on the number of eel fries in the illegal trading or fishing that they participated in illegal trading or fishing. The Jiangsu High People's Court affirms the original judgment in the second instance.
This is the first case that the Nanjing Environment and Resources Tribunal heard and decided in public since the "9＋1" environment and resource trial mechanism has been officially operated. It is also the first case in China that people in the "whole chain" was ordered to bear the liability of ecological damage compensation for fishing, acquisition and sale of eel fries in the Yangtze River basin since the national fishing ban was adjusted in January 2016. It fully demonstrates the determination and commitment to protect the ecosystem and the environment of the Yangtze River "with the most stringent regime and rule of law". The case was heard by a seven-person Collegial Bench. With experts accepting inquiries in court, the consequences of ecological damage are comprehensively measured, and the loss of ecological resources is scientifically calculated. At the same time, the amount of labor compensation that can be used to offset part of the amount of compensation for ecological damage was clarified. It provides an effective path for the ecological restoration of the Yangtze River, which is of great positive significance for maintaining the ecological security of the Yangtze River area, comprehensively strengthening the protection of the Yangtze River's aquatic organisms, and forming a harmonious coexistence and green development pattern between human beings and nature.