The Third China Yellow Croaker Festival, sponsored by China Fisheries Association, in a joint effort with Jiaojiang District Peoples’ Government in Taizhou, Zhejiang, and the National Alliance for Technical Innovation in Yellow Croaker Industry, was held in Taizhou from 4 -7 November. Participating guests visited the city’s breeding base in Dachen Island, which is known for producing high-quality yellow croaker that plays an important role in culinary culture in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. Copper-alloy net pens are also key to the success of the local fish-farming business in Taizhou.
The “Copper-Alloy Net Pen Aquaculture Project,” jointly initiated by the International Copper Association and the East China Sea Fishery Research Institute under Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, was first launched in China in 2009. After years of research, assessment and piloting, a number of demonstration centers are now in place in Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang. The largest center is located in Dachen Island. A total of four large-scale copper-alloy weirs, with an annual production of 5,000 tonnes of high-quality yellow croakers, are deployed. The fish in copper-alloy nets significantly outperform those produced through conventional nylon net cages in terms of texture, flavor and amino acid content, and sell at a 50 percent higher price point.
The development of copper-alloy material produced for this project results from years of data-tracking, assessment and tests to ensure durability, corrosion resistance, and food-grade qualification before putting the material into use and production. Copper alloys used in aquaculture facilities demonstrate several strengths. Copper-alloy net pens and weirs have a high-level cleanliness and are immune to attachment of fouling organisms. They provide sufficient water flow and oxygen content in a quasi-natural environment, which is ideal for fish breeding. Copper-alloy net pens effectively discourage parasites and pathogens, contributing to a considerable reduction in manual maintenance efforts and a decrease in the use of antibiotics. High-strength copper-alloy net pens provide resistance to extreme weather (up to a category-15 typhoon). They maintain their volumes under impact of strong storms and waves. They protect fish from predator attacks (e.g., sharks). Copper is 100 percent recyclable; copper-alloy net pens can be recycled upon completion of a service life of five or more years
“Industrial revolution” for Aquaculture Net Pen
Copper-alloy aquaculture net pens are an innovative, new technology that has demonstrated strong performance and growth potential and is expected to start an “industrial revolution” across China’s aquaculture net pen industry.
Deep-water, anti-wave net pen aquaculture and inland, environment friendly net pen aquaculture are listed as important drivers for China’s aquaculture transformation and upgrading in the National 13th Five-year Plan for Fishery Development. Copper-alloy aquaculture net pens, by virtue of their high strength and environmental benefits, will gather further support from macro policies. As domestic labor cost rises, and the intelligence and automation of aquaculture expands, copper-alloy aquaculture net pens will display even more advantages in saving manual maintenance efforts.