USSEC’s China aquaculture program conducted its 25th annual evaluation conference in Yichang, Hubei Province from June 4 to 8. The purpose of the conference was to get the results from all of USSEC’s aquaculture feeding demos conducted in 2017, analyze the results, find the ups and downs, and determine what needs to be modified/changed in the coming year for better demo designs, more specifically addressing the issues and improving the overall outcome. More than 45 participants from more than 10 provinces and cities came to the conference. All of the feeding demo field managers presented the feeding demo results, followed by the results analysis presentations by USSEC aqua staff. The overall conclusion of the conference are as follows:
- The development of In-Pond Raceway System (IPRS) is growing very rapidly in the country with the majority of the development in the Yangtze River Delta area. According to Mr. Li Shumin, Deputy Director of Bureau of Fisheries & Fisheries Administration of Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs (MARA), after 5 years of promotion and extension, there were close to 6,000 IPRS cells in the country at the end of last year. That number will be over 6,000 by the end of this year.
- IPRS has been proven to be a good technology that enables higher yield and better economic returns. It is environmentally friendly, producing safer and better aquaculture products at a lower production cost. The technology also fits the culture of different species. At present, more than ten different species have been successfully cultured in IPRS cells.
- Although the support level from the government in different regions varies quite a bit, overall support is strong and the technology has been listed as one of the six priority developing technologies that the Chinese government will support in the coming years.
However, besides this encouraging news, there are also some issues identified during the development. They are as follows:
- Over-construction of the number of cells in the pond cause the over biomass in the pond.
- Lack of understanding of the technology principle, which results in the unscientific designs/orientations of the system.
- Not enough water-pushing power to make the “still” pond water a flowing “river,” the key to success.
- No statistical evaluation of the waste removal efficiency.
- Poor quality of the construction leads to numerous problems such as bottom leaking/breaking, net-pen breaking and waste removal device improperly functioning.
- No adequate conditioning/acclimating of the fish fingerlings before stocking into the cells results in poor survival rate.
Based on the aforementioned issues, USSEC decided to conduct an “IPRS Problem Tackling” workshop, rather than a principle seminar, in September this year when the U.S. consultant comes to China for technical service. USSEC will invite all major IPRS adopters from throughout the country to the workshop for diagnosing problems and providing solutions to the problems. USSEC believes at present it is more important to get the technology adopted qualitatively than quantitatively.