China will start using huge deep sea fish farming cages for 1,500 tons of salmon per season per cage

Shandong Wanzefeng Fishery said a fully submersible ocean fish farming net cage called Deep Blue No 1, the world’s biggest, was delivered to the shipyard of state-owned Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry on Friday.

The 35-meter-high cage will be deployed in the Yellow Sea about 130 nautical miles east of Rizhao where the cold water is believed to be a suitable habitat for the fish.

Wang Yu, head of the Hubei Marine Engineering Equipment Research Institute, which designed the system, said the cage had a volume of 50,000 cubic meters and could generate a harvest of about 1,500 tonnes of salmon per season.

“Its position underwater can be adjusted from four to 50 meters to ensure the best temperature for the salmon,” Wang said at the farm’s launch in Qingdao on Friday.

It is the first attempt to set up such an open sea farm in China and more could follow, with Xinhua estimating the Yellow Sea could support an industry of more than 100 billion yuan (US$15.7 billion).

Salmon is growing in popularity in China, with the country consuming about 70,000 tonnes of the fish each year. China imported 40,000 tonnes last year, most of it from Norway and Chile.

China has tried to raise its production of farmed salmon but there are limits on the areas that can be used for aquaculture.

Deputy agriculture minister Yu Kangzhen said farming in the deep sea and outer ocean was the natural choice to ease pressure on fisheries closer to shore.

Back in 2006, I had a prediction about cubic mile deep ocean fish farms by the end of 2025. The prediction will not happen. In order to reach a cumulative one cubic mile of volume would require 80,000 of these cages.