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Drought, disease and typhoons in China make 1989 a trying year for aquaculture.

Drought, Disease and Typhoons in China Make 1989 a Trying Year for Aquaculture

Much has been reported about viral outbreaks that have devastated shrimp production in Taiwan, but now word comes that fish farming on mainland China has also had its share of problems. The industry suffered huge losses last year due to natural disasters across the country, according to the Chinese Agriculture, Husbandry and Fishery News.

Here is a rundown of the situation, as spelled out in an October of China Daily:

* In Shandong Province alone, aquaculture capacity decreased by some 17,340 hectares, with the output of freshwater fish dropping by more than 5,700 tons in August.

* Fish farms have been shrinking generally in northern China, which was subjected to persistent droughts which dried up many breeding ponds.

* In Dalian, prawn harvests were not forthcoming in approximately 200 hectares of prime waters due to severe drought.

* But in the southern part of the country too much rain was the problem as typhoons and floods wreaked 400-million yuan worth of havoc among fish farms. More than 113,333 hectares in Sichuan, Guangdon, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces were affected. The loss in grown fish and shrimp was put at 30,000 tons, while the production of other shellfish and algae fell by some 80,000 tons.

* Approximately 420 million fish fry were washed away by heavy rains, while about 800 fishing boats were sunk by storms.

* Epidemics of fish diseases, which had not occurred for many years, also struck wide areas in the southern provinces, including Zhejiang, Shanghai Municipality and Jiangsu. In some areas, more than half the fish were destroyed. About 300,000 kilograms of fish died in Nanjing alone.

But all the news is not bad, as gleaned from subsequent dispatches appearing recently in the China Daily. For example:

* Abalone farming has been moved successfully from the sea to a building in Dalian. A new 5,000-square-meter enclosed facility will permit the production of this expensive shellfish in an area not exposed to dramatic shifts of climate. Built by the Dalian Aquatic Products Research Institute, some 540,000 abalone are currently under cultivation on the premises.

* On the salmon front, workers at a breeding station in Fuyuan recently placed 500,000 fry into the Heilong River. They were raised with the help of six sets of USA-manufactured incubators. If all goes well, the released fingerlings will make their way downstream into the northern Pacific and eventually return to swim upriver for spawning.

* Aquatic production in Fujian province was up 14.6% during the first six months of 1989. A greater availability of marine products was responsible for bringing down local prices by more than 6%.

While aquaculture yielded mixed results last year, fisheries output was reported to have reached an all-time high of 10.61 million tons in 1988 to make China the world's third largest fishing nation after the USSR and Japan. Exports were in the range of 275,000 tons, netting $960-million in hard currency.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, fisheries production has risen an average of 593,000 tons annually from 1978-88. The government hopes to raise landings to 14.5 million tons by 1995.
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Title Annotation:QFFI's Global Seafood Magazine
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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