China’s offshore salmon rig, Deep Blue No. 1, starts sea trials

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A Chinese company is hoping to launch a SalMar-inspired offshore grow-out rig, as China hopes to leapfrog some of the near-coast issues faced by salmon-growing nations which have used their sheltered waterways to grow an aquaculture industry.

Shandong Wanzefeng Fishery on Friday took delivery of the fully submersible pen, Deep Blue No. 1, at a shipyard of Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry, Xinhua reported in the South China Morning Post.

The 35-metre-tall cage will be place about 130 nautical miles off the coastal town of Rizhao, a city of millions. The net-pen will be able to produce 1,500 tonnes of salmon per season, said Wang Yu, design lead for Hubei Marine Engineering Equipment Research Institute.

“It’s position underwater can be adjusted between four and 50 metres to secure the best temperature for the salmon,” Want said at the Qingdao launch.

It was the first attempt at erecting an offshore net-pen in China, and more attempts could follow. Xinhua estimates that the Yellow Sea can support an industry worth 100 billion yuan (EUR 13 billion).

Deputy agriculture minister, Yu Kangzhen stated that offshore marine grow-outs are a natural way to ease pressure on the coastal fishery. He said the large new pen marked a turning point.

China consumes about 70,000 t of salmon every year — the bulk of it imported.