Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is becoming more important to the global food chain every year. With an increased amount of breeding and harvesting being carried out in controlled environments, companies are constantly looking for new ways to make the process safer and more sustainable.

The good news is that innovations in fish farming are helping to make aquafarming not just more sustainable, but profitable as well. Disease prevention is being improved by boosting the fishes’ natural defenses through the use of feed supplements and probiotics. Vaccines are now being delivered orally as it is easier and faster compared to the hand-injection method. And at the rate aquaculture is growing, feed options such as plant-based and insect-based feeds will lighten the strain on traditional fish meal supplies.

This is important as by 2025, the fish farming industry is projected to be worth $376.49 billion globally. In the United States alone, half of the fish that is sold for consumption now comes from fish farms, and twice the amount of fish is being consumed now compared to 60 years ago. Aquaculture helps supply seafood across the globe while preventing overfishing. Products of fish farming are also sure to be safe, as they have been taken care of. Yet, despite the increasing worth of the industry, fish stocks have been falling in the past few years because of overfishing and pollution from traditional aquafarms that operate near the shore. In order to combat this, a new plan is being developed.

Recently, China has begun the construction of a solution that will solve the above-mentioned problems, further modernizing aquaculture in the country: a 100,000-ton off-shore fish farming vessel. This project is currently leading the country’s industrial development and technological innovation. Construction started last December and is expected to finish in March 2022, but the idea of it has been in development since 2019. Qingdao Conson Development Group Co, the main investor of the vessel, has been designing and building the ship together with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, the world’s largest shipbuilder, the Pilot National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology, and the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.

The aquaculture vessel – the Guoxin No. 1 – will have 15 aquaculture tanks, 80,000 cubic meters in size, that have their own smart system to control salinity and temperature. Dong Shaoguang, deputy general manager of Qingdao Conson Development Group Co, said: “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.”

The vessel will mostly farm high-value species, such as the large yellow croaker, to meet the high demand in China for certain fish, and is expected to produce 3,200 to 4,000 tons of these fish products annually. The team of companies plans to build 50 of these vessels to produce at least 200,000 tons of fish per year.

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