17601_Fish_farm_rural_dev_.jpgOver-fishing and pollution are killing the fishing industry in the East China Sea, according to the Shanghai Daily. The problem is hardly unique to China, of course.

However, what is unique to China is it already has the solution, in the form of an extensive aquaculture industry.

Indeed, one of the remedies proposed for China's underemployed fishermen is to retrain them for jobs in aquaculture.

China
has a long history of aquaculture — and not just for carp. Almost two
out of every three fish produced in China are now farmed rather than
caught.

The aquaculture industry, which was largely initially
located in coastal areas and on the Yangtse and Zhujiang rivers, has
spread to many regions of the country. The number of varieties of
seawater aquaculture has also increased dramatically from traditional
molluscs and algae to shrimp, molluscs, fish and other more valuable
aquaculture products.

But China's aquaculture industry also has some big problems,
according to a recent report produced by Canadian Embassy in Beijing.
So, this is an area where western technology and expertise could really
help.

For example, quality remains a big issue. As well as
disease problems and breed degeneration, Chinese fish farms are often
lax in their control of medications and harmful residues. That scares
consumers away and depresses the industry's export potential,
particularly in markets like the EU and Japan.

The processing
side is also underdeveloped. Most processing enterprises do not have
advanced processing technology and equipment. Except for eels and
prawns, other products are still at a low level of processing and
modern information systems are conspicuous by their absence.

A
more general problem, hardly unique to aquaculture, is poor management
practices In many places, production is too concentrated, which not
only affects the quality of fish but harms the environment.

Fish
farming often gets a bad press from environmentalists. But according to
the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation, aquaculture can
make an important contribution to reducing poverty and improving food
security in an era when the fish supplied from the fisheries of most
countries is expected to decline.

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