The world’s first giant floating fish farm called the Guoxin 1 set sail from the eastern port city of Qingdao in China on Friday, May 20, 2022, according to the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences. The boat is equipped with 15 tanks, each one bigger than two standard swimming pools, and can produce up to 3,700 tons of fish every year.
Harvesting the ideal conditions for fish cultivation
The vessel measures 820 ft (250 meters) long and 147 ft (45 meters) wide, with a displacement of 130,000 tons. It will now head to the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea to harvest the ideal conditions for different types of fish to be cultivated in their optimum temperatures.
According to Fish Farmer, the mega vessel was built by the state-owned investment company Qingdao Conson Development Group. The group's vice president, Dong Shaoguang, said of the ship's development: "We are taking a big step towards realizing the country’s plans to build a fleet of smart fish farms."
"The main goal of building the ship, which will produce fish without polluting the environment, is to produce fish in an environment where there is no pollution in the open ocean."
He added: "The next goal of the project, which was implemented in cooperation with China Shipbuilding Group, the world’s largest shipyard group, is to increase the number of ships with these qualifications to 50."
Currently, two more similar ships are expected to be delivered by March 2024, while construction of a fourth version of the current ships with more advanced technology is set to start next year. All the ships are expected to be equipped with underwater cameras, sensors, and automatic feeding facilities.
What kind of fish will these marvels of engineering produce?
By the autumn time, the ship is expected to produce the first batch of yellow croaker fish bred in the East China Sea. Meanwhile, a 2021 study published in the Chinese-language journal Fishery Modernisation, indicated the type of fish to be farmed were cobia, groupers, turbot, and Atlantic salmon.
The cobia and groupers will be produced in the South China Sea where the temperature ranges between 77 and 82 Fahrenheit (25 and 28 degrees Celsius). Turbot and Atlantic salmon, however, require colder waters so they will be grown in the Yellow Sea where temperatures are closer to 35,6 degrees Fahrenheit (two degrees Celsius).
Author Kirsty Nash, an affiliate researcher at the Centre for Marine Socioecology of the University of Tasmania, told the South China Morning Post that not all the fish will be caught in China.
"Some of the fish exported from China is caught by the Chinese fleet within China, while part of it is caught externally. And some of it is fish that has been imported from another country for processing and then re-exported," explained Nash.