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Qingdao Harvests Benefits of Aquaculture and Fishing

CHINA - Qingdao's fishing and aquaculture have developed rapidly in recent years to become crucial to the city's marine economy.

"Qingdao will accelerate modernization of the industry and make it a mainstay," Huang Yusong, director-general of Qingdao Ocean and Fishery Bureau, said.

According to the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) for Qingdao's marine economy, the total production value of the fishery industry will reach 25.8 billion yuan by 2010, when annual average per capita net income of those harvesting and fishing will hit 11,000 yuan.

Huang said last year's total catch and aquaculture production was about 1.4 million tons that generated revenues of 18.48 billion yuan.

Harvests of cultivated seafood and other marine organisms totaled 884,800 tons, some 61 percent of the total aquatic production in 2007. Products include fish, prawns, sea cucumber and abalone.

The industry's rapid growth has also brought prosperity to processors. Qingdao is now home to more than 1,800 processing firms that have combined revenues of more than 8 billion yuan annually.

Import and export of aquatic products is also expanding, rising to 916,000 tons last year with a total value of $1.5 billion.

To maintain stable development, the city's aquaculturists enlarged their breeding program last year by releasing 27 billion fry, including tiny sea cucumbers, prawns, turbot, abalone and clams.

Since 2007, 38 million prawn fry and 12.2 million jellyfish fry have been released into the Yellow Sea to help restore fisheries.

The industry is also drawing overseas investment. In 2007, 37 foreign-funded fishery enterprises were established with total investment of $190 million, an increase of 57 percent over the year before.