In China, this species is listed as a Class II state major protected wildlife species. It occurs, or at least used to occur, in many nature reserves within its range, and some nature reserves even use the species as their main conservation target, such as Zhangjiajie Giant Salamander Nature Reserve. Captive rearing of animals has achieved some success, but these projects are mainly to meet the market demand. It is not clear whether or not animals are actually being bred in captivity. This species is also listed in CITES Appendix I.
The artificial bred Chinese Giant Salamanders can be sold in the market with the licenses of "Aquatic Wildlife Domestication Certificate," "Operation and Utilization Permit," "Transport Permit" issued by the fishery department. The Chinese Giant Salamanders that can be sold must be second-generation Chinese Giant Salamanders raised in captivity, incapable of reproduction, or disabled. However, the regulation lacks enforcement in some local areas.
In 2012, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) initiated a three-year Darwin-funded project - Chinese Giant Salamander International to conserve the Critically Endangered Chinese Giant Salamander.
With the impact of COVID-19, in February 2020, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress released the "Decision to Comprehensively Prohibit the Illegal Trade of Wild Animals, Break the Bad Habit of Excessive Consumption of Wild Animals, and Effectively Secure the Life and Health of the People." The Decision bans the activities of hunting, trade, transportation, and eating wild animals. (Article 1) Completely prohibit the consumption of “terrestrial wild animals with important ecological, the scientific and social value” and other terrestrial wild animals protected by the state, and terrestrial wildlife includes animals from artificial breeding and artificial raising. It is forbidden to hunt, trade, and transport terrestrial wild animals that naturally grow and reproduce in the wild for the purpose of food. (Article 2)
However, this Decision does not apply to aquatic animals, and in September 2020, the Ministry of Rural and Agriculture made an announcement that all Chinese Giant Salamanders and products with the license legally obtained for the operation and utilization of aquatic wild animals, or with the artificial bred Chinese Giant Salamander identity can still be legally sold in the market. This shows that Chinese Giant Salamanders can be still legally bred and raised in farms and operations artificially in the future. Luckily, as the habit of eating wildlife has been changed in China, the price of the Chinese Giant Salamanders and products has been decreasing dramatically and the farmers are seeking new ways to live instead of this industry.
Read more on Artificial breeding of Wildlife in China and Animal Law Updates in China.