China Drought Threatens Aquaculture Production


Catherine Zhang, contributing editor reporting from London, England

Published on
February 12, 2009

China’s worst drought in 50 years has threatened fish farms and shrimp harvests in northern China, as many breeding ponds have dried up, according to a recent report by China’s Ministry of Agriculture.  

Since October, rainfall in northern China and regions along the Huai River in the east dropped 70 to 90 percent compared to a year ago. Thursday was the first day Beijing experienced rainfall in more than 100 days. China’s National Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief has declared a state of emergency in major drought-stricken regions in the North.  

China’s northern regions of Shandong and Dalian, which have been affected heavily by the drought, have substantial aquaculture industries. Promoting aquaculture has become a means for alleviating widespread poverty in these regions, as the government continues to subsidize production of species such as salmon, eel, tilapia and abalone.  

The consistent lack of rainfall has been blamed on high winter temperatures. Local climate control bureaus plan to shoot rockets into the sky to stimulate rainfall in the coming weeks.  

Since 1978, China's aquaculture production has increased 490 percent, making it the world’s largest producer of farmed seafood, accounting for 57 percent of global output.

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