The first of what is expected to be a fleet of giant Chinese offshore fish farming vessels has started sea trials.

Looking more like a huge submarine than a ship, the 100,000 tonne “Guoxin 1” last week sailed from the port of Qingdao city in the eastern located Shandong province.

The vessel is almost 250 metres long and has a displacement of 100,000 tonnes. In total a fleet of 50 such ships is planned.

Built by the state-owned investment company Qingdao Conson Development Group, “Guoxin 1” holds 15 fish tanks with a total volume of 80,000 cubic meters.

Chinese state media said Guoxin 1, which is expected to enter regular service within the next three months, has the capacity to produce 4,000 tons of fish a year. Salmon is thought to be the main production species, but other varieties will also be on the list.

The announcement said the fish farm tanks are were equipped with underwater cameras, sensors and automatic feeding facilities.

The company is planning to test whether it is possible to cultivate a local fish known as yellow croaker, along with Atlantic salmon.

The Qingdao Conson Development vice president Dong Shaoguang said: “We are taking a big step towards realising 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.”

 

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