Shandong Province and Sanggou Bay context
Shandong Province has a population of 97.89 million and a land area of 157 thousand km2. Shandong owns a coastline of 3 345km, which is 1/6 of the total of mainland China. It also has about 3000km2 tidal flat and 13 300 km2 shallow sea area below 15m isobath. The coastal sea has provided ample space for marine aquaculture in Shandong Prov., whose seafood production and its total revenue exceeds any other province in China. In 2014, the total marine aquaculture production in Shandong Province was 4 799 107 t, at a total value of 82 billion Yuan RMB, which is about 8% of the total marine economy of the Province. Shandong has relatively high levels of employment in agriculture (especially vegetables and fruits), catch fishery and aquaculture.
Production and producers
Shandong Prov. Produces 33% of seaweed, 28% of bivalves, 43% of sea cucumbers and other mariculture seafood in China.
Shandong Marine Aquaculture Production 2014
||Others (incl. sea cucumber)
|Shandong Province (t)
|% of China
Sangou Bay is a semi-enclosed bay located on the eastern tip of Shandong Peninsula, facing the Yellow Sea, with a surface area of 133.3km2 and an average depth of 8m. Seaweed has been cultured in the bay since the late 1950s and the major seaweed species produced in Sanggou Bay is kelp Laminaria japonica. There are more than twenty aquaculture farms in the bay, with a diverse range of culture facilities including longlines for seaweed, lantern nets for scallop and abalone, and net cages for finfish etc. There are also shrimp ponds along part of the coastline of the bay. Annual mariculture production of Sanggou Bay is listed as follows:
- Kelp: 80,000 t in dry weight
- Abalone: 2,000 t in fresh weight with shell
- Oyster: 120,000 t in fresh weight with shell
- Scallop: 10,000 t in fresh weight with shell
- Finfish: 100 t
- Sea cucumber: 100 t in fresh weight
Aquaculture Development Issues
The AquaSpace project held a stakeholder workshop on December 8th 2015 at Sanggou Bay, Shandong Province. The stakeholders were asked to address the question: “What are the main issues that constrain the development of aquaculture in Sanggou Bay”. The following is a draft synthesis of the workshop discussions:
- What is the pressing need by the farm in terms of aquaculture spatial planning?
- Based on earlier ecological and physical oceanography studies, the current layout and density of aquaculture longlines has reduced the water exchange in Sanggou Bay to a certain extent, which may have affected the productivity of the seaweed. The aquaculture companies have a strong pressure to increase aquaculture productivity via optimized spatial planning, so as to maintain the companies’ economic balance (return) while the labour cost keeps rising. The current level of mechanization of seaweed culture and harvest is relatively low, and labour cost may comprise 40% of the total production cost.
- Because the water exchange in inner Sanggou Bay is reduced by the high density longline culture, the companies are also concerned about the water quality which is possibly degraded. Optimized spatial planning of the raft culture is also needed so as to ensure the good quality of seafood products, especially the oyster, scallop, abalone and sea cucumber.
- Now some of the companies make a ‘shift’ with the longline seaweed culture: kelp is cultured during October – May (next year), and Gracilaria is cultured during May – August. In this way they make full use of the rafts and almost close the year for seaweed culture.
- From the companies’ perspective, they want to increase the number of cultured species so as to maximize the utilization of the marine space.
- The main culture mode is longline culture of seaweeds and lantern nets for shellfish. Companies hope to extend their aquaculture to the benthic layer, but this may rely on the development and design of new bottom culture equipment.
- What are the benefits and barriers for aquaculture by co-existing with other sea use?
- New China policy (Water Pollution Prevention Action Plan issued in April, 2015) stipulates that an ecologically healthy aquaculture will be promoted, with aquaculture-prohibition area drawn for key rivers, lakes and coastal seas. An upper limit of 2.2 million ha is also laid for the total area for mariculture. Limited availability of suitable space for aquaculture means more interaction of aquaculture with other interests (conservation, tourism, fishing, etc.).
- Allocating space will not lead to area expansion, but to aim for benign interactions through co-existence. As a result, considerations should be given to the buffering distance between aquaculture farms and different sea use, in particular the marine protected areas and vulnerable benthic habitats nearby, as well as coastal industrial installations. This will protect the aquaculture farms from pollution and other harms.
- What are the barriers to co-existence? In recent years, ecosystem conservation ‘red line’ has been drawn along many coastal wetlands in China, and new policy stipulates ‘return aquaculture to natural tidal flats’, so as to maintain the natural status of the marine ecosystems. Industry can’t lead in multi-use because this may reduce their scale of operation and benefit; but they will do what is legally required of them. Collaboration and dialogue between industry and regulatory authorities are highly needed, so that new approaches to planning and consenting to facilitate co-existence can be developed.