June 26, 2024


Wind-powered: Chinese aquaculture gets the second wind for offshore farming

An eFeedlink Exclusive

In recent years, China's aquaculture industry faced developmental bottlenecks.


For instance, offshore aquaculture, which occupies a large amount of land area, has to contend with other industries for land space.


However, with the rapid development of offshore wind power, the offshore wind station-aquaculture farm hybrid model shed light on the aquaculture industry's recent evolution. This model would allow marine aquaculture to locate further out to deep seas.


China is now the world's largest offshore wind power market, and as the market booms, there are several attempts to integrate offshore power generation into marine farms. Additionally, modern technologies will further define the development of offshore aquaculture.


In March 2024, Jiangmen, Guangdong, launched Taishan No. 1, a semi-submersible truss-type breeding platform, onto the waters of Chuan Island, Taishan. With a volume of 30,000 cubic meters, the platform uses an intelligent breeding management system to conduct comprehensive monitoring and management of breeding.


Another notable project — a fry farm — was developed in Pingtan County, Fujian. This project entails installing miniature deep-sea aquaculture equipment at a wind farm. The project experiments with the rearing of grouper and seabream and studies the environmental impact of the wind farm on marine animals. By installing high-tech equipment around metal breeding cages, including global positioning systems and automatic identification systems, researchers can monitor cages, breeding conditions and environmental factors through mobile phones and computers.


In September 2021, the Pingtan project saw the undersea submersion of a metal cage containing 1,500 fry. The cage was positioned within 50 meters of a wind turbine in the Pingtan Experimental Zone. After breeding the fry (28 meters under the sea) for nine months, preliminary estimations showed that the farm produced 250kg of grouper and 500kg of sea bream.


In another development, Laizhou, Shandong province, announced in March the completion of an offshore wind station-marine farm site located 11 kilometers away from the coast of Laizhou.


While the wind station-aquaculture farm model establishes a new developmental path for the intensive use of the sea for aquaculture purposes, it also has its own challenges. For instance, aquaculture farms have particular considerations concerning water quality and temperature and plankton abundance as well as water depth, offshore distance and farming efficiency.


Nevertheless, the hybrid model opens a new dimension in Chinese aquaculture, signalling the future progress of offshore aquaculture in China.

- David Lin, eFeedLink