1st LD-Writethru: China launches large-scale salmon farming in Yellow Sea

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QINGDAO, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- China has launched a project for the large-scale cultivation of salmon in the cold water mass of the Yellow Sea to cater to growing seafood demand in Chinese markets.

The project will build a salmon farm about 130 nautical miles off the shore of Rizhao in east China's Shandong Province, with the aim of producing 45,000 tonnes of salmon annually, said Dong Shuanglin, a professor at the Ocean University of China and the project's chief scientist.

Initiated by the university and two Chinese firms, the project involves a total investment of over 4.3 billion yuan (642 million U.S. dollars) and has demarcated a cultivation area of 3,000 hectares.

It plans to erect the "Shenlan 2" salmon cage in the second half of this year, following a successful trial of salmon farming at "Shenlan 1," the world's largest fully-submersible fish cage.

The "Shenlan 2" cage is 80 meters tall, compared with the 35 meters of "Shenlan 1," and can accommodate 1 million fish, a large increase from its predecessor's 300,000, according to Dong.

The project also includes the construction of an onshore industrial park, R&D facilities and a fry cultivation base. The first batch of salmon from the farm is scheduled to hit the market by the end of 2020.

Chinese scientists have in recent years started to test rearing salmon in the Yellow Sea's cold water mass, a seasonal low-temperature water body, as the country's offshore fish farming faces a lack of space, disease outbreaks and other environmental problems.

The 13-million-hectare cold water mass in the Yellow Sea is large enough to raise 500 million salmon, and its strong self-purification means lower risks of diseases and parasite outbreaks, according to the university.

Salmon farming in that sea area is also expected to herald a new trend in China's marine aquaculture following seaweed, shrimp, shellfish, fish and sea cucumber, while offering a platform for cooperation with countries like Norway and Japan in farm management, diseases and parasites control, according to sources familiar with the industry. Enditem

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