China is building a 100,000-metric-ton offshore fish farm vessel featuring state-of-the-art facilities. Experts said the vessel will help modernize the country’s aquaculture sector and promote environmentally friendly production.

Shipbuilders said the aquaculture vessel — the Conson No 1 — is the first of its kind in the world and is expected to be delivered in March 2022.

The vessel is 249.9 meters long and 45 meters wide and designed to be fitted with 15 aquaculture tanks of 80,000 cubic meters each and a smart system that can control temperature and salinity. It will provide an appropriate environment for cultured fish, said Dong Shaoguang, deputy general manager of Qingdao Conson Development (Group) Co, the main investor of the vessel.

“The new vessel will be self-propelled, which means it will be able to cruise between different sea areas as seasons and temperature change. And it will be able to avoid harsh weather such as typhoons and red tides,” Dong said, adding that the vessel will farm mostly high-value species, such as large yellow croaker, to meet massive market demand for high-protein foods in China.

“It is expected to produce 3,200 to 4,000 tons of high-quality fish products every year, with total output value of about 220 million yuan ($33.5 million),” Dong said at a launch ceremony to officially mark the vessel’s construction in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Saturday.

Wang Xiaohu, president of the China Academy of Fishery Sciences, said fish stocks have fallen around the world in recent years due to overfishing and pollution from traditional near-shore aquaculture operations.

“To solve these problems, Chinese marine and aquaculture specialists proposed the construction of fish farming vessels and carried out relevant feasible studies since the 1980s,” Wang said. “After years of effort, Chinese researchers have acquired more than 30 proprietary intellectual property rights.”

Last year, Qingdao Conson partnered with China State Shipbuilding Corp, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, the CAFS and other organizations, to start research and development of the new fish farm vessel.

Zhang Xianliang, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said the construction of the new vessel is playing a leading role in China’s industrial development, along with technological innovation.

Qingdao Conson and its partners plan to build 50 of the fish farm vessels capable of raising a total of more than 200,000 tons of high-value fish species. The output value will be 11 billion yuan, the company said.

Source: China Daily

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