Lianjiang fishermen achieve prosperity through aquacultures
Fishermen harvest kelp off the coast of Lianjiang county. [Photo/fjsen.com]
Covering an area of 4,280 square kilometers, Lianjiang county in Fujian province enjoys a 3,112-sq-km sea area, which boasts aquacultures of kelp, abalone, and sea cucumbers.
In 2021, Lianjiang county farmed more than 6,000 hectares of kelp with an output of 302,390 tons and an output value of 2.57 billion yuan ($378.31 million) as the kelp has turned from the abalone feed into the diverse dishes over the past years.
Dong Facai, a local fisherman in his late 60s, is a participant and witness of the development of kelp aquaculture in Lianjiang county.
Dong and his father became the "pioneers" of kelp farmers when Fujian province introduced kelp seeds and piloted farming them in Lianjiang county in 1956.
Back then, the kelp farming and selling did not make much money.
"In the past, a kelp seedling rope could only be sold for a few dollars, but this year, the kelp on this seedling rope may be sold for 150 yuan," Dong remarked, after pulling up a seedling rope weighing 140 pounds on which the kelp attached has become extraordinarily strong.
"The price has gone higher because there are more and better varieties of kelp products," Dong explained.
The alga deep processing technology developed by Zhu Beiwei, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and her team from Dalian Polytechnic University, attracted attention from the Lianjiang government and Qiu Bixiang, general manager of Fujian Yida Food Co, thanks to an "academician visiting Fujian" event held in 2015.
A project led by academician Zhu was developed in the food company after the Lianjiang government and Qiu asked her to help build a production line focusing on deep kelp processing.
In 2016, Fujian Yida Food Co contracted a 200-hectare sea area in Qida village, Lianjiang county, to establish a kelp farming base that would integrate enterprises and farmers, as well as encourage local fisherman to farm kelp.
Currently, the crudely processed kelp is being made into highly processed products such as kelp cakes, puffs, crisps and other snacks in the food company's factory, while fisherman in Lianjiang county, such as Dong Facai, are sailing to harvest their own wealth on the sea.