China recently launched a massive floating fish farm in the coastal city of Qingdao. Named Guoxin 1, the 250 metre vessel left port in late May and will process 3 700 tons of fish every year, according to the Chinese Academy of Fishery Services.
Constructed by the Qingdao Conson Development Group, Guoxin 1 is enormous and designed to withstand the strongest typhoons. About as long as the Titanic and twice as heavy, the gigantic floating factory of fish is equipped with 15 tanks that will house fish species.
Each fish tank is twice as large as a standard swimming pool and contributes significantly to the factory’s impressive 130 000 displacement, according to Chinese state media. A network of underwater cameras, sensors and automatic feeders will assist crewmates with their activities onboard.
The core ambition of the project was to develop a vessel that would work as harmoniously with the environment as possible, said group vice-president, Dong Shaoguang.
The Guoxin 1 smart fish farm would cultivate fish stocks in their optimum environment, free from major sources of pollution, while also producing nearly no harmful by-products itself, said Dong.
The aquaculture cycle of fish that Guoxin 1 processes are substantially shorter than traditional fish farms, boosting yields and saving space, confirmed Dong.
Guoxin 1 will produce a variety of fish species that will be farmed seasonally, predominantly operating in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
China’s new aquaculture venture will be supplemented by research conducted by Chen Zhixin and published in 2021. The ideal marine conditions for several popular species was detailed by Chen, a senior scientist at the Fishery Machinery and Instrument Research Institute, an arm of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.
The South China Sea, with its temperate waters of between 25-28 degrees Celsius, is the ideal breeding ground for cobia and groupers, according to Chen’s study. Turbot, a large flatfish similar to halibut, and Atlantic salmon can be found further north in the Yellow Sea, where temperatures drop off significantly.
Conditions are kept stable by pumping a constant supply of fresh seawater through the cabins. The first harvest of yellow croakers is expected to reach markets later this year.
The Qingdao Conson Development Group has made moves to partner with China Shipbuilding Group to build as many as 50 similar fish farms. Several are under construction already, according to Chinese state media.
Guoxin 2 and 3 are expected to leave Qingdao port in 2024, while an updated version, Guoxin 4 will enter production in 2023.