Shenlan 1 deep sea farm. (Compiled from CGTN video)
The first batch of 120,000 salmon sent to Shenlan 1 — China's first deep-sea, intelligent fish farm — on Monday are in good condition, operator Wanzefeng Fishery Co said.
The move marks the start of China's large-scale fish farming in distant, deep seas.
The fully submersible aquaculture facility, 35 meters tall and with a volume of 50,000 cubic meters, lies 20 meters below the surface of the Yellow Sea, about 240 kilometers off the coast of Rizhao, Shandong province.
"The area where the facility lies is part of a mass of cold water, roughly 500 billion cu m, in the middle and bottom area of the Yellow Sea," said Wang Ning, general manager of Wanzefeng Fishery, based in Rizhao.
"The temperature of the cold water stays from 12 to 16 C in summer," he said. "It's good quality and suitable for the cultivation of cold-water fish."
Shanlan 1 has been built with high-tech materials and advanced techniques, Wang said. It can dive to a depth of 50 meters, and rise or descend according to ambient water temperature.
The salmon sent to the facility weigh around 500 grams each, and at least 90 percent of them are expected to survive, added Wang Yongqiang, an aquaculture expert at the Shandong Marine Biology Institute, based in Qingdao, who is working on the submersible aquaculture farming project.
"We will send another two batches of salmon to the facility to take the total up to 400,000," Wang Ning said.
The salmon will grow to 5 kilograms during the next eight to 10 months, after which they will be ready for sale on the Chinese market, he said, adding that the 400,000 salmon will be harvested from February to April.
Research results released last year by Dutch bank Rabobank showed China consumed 100,000 metric tons of salmon in 2016. Wang Ning said most were imported.