Shen Lan launches Antarctic krill fishing vessel

Published on
May 20, 2019

A Chinese firm has launched what it claims is the world’s largest purpose-built vessel for fishing Antarctic krill. 

The 21-meter vessel was launched in Guangzhou by Jiangsu Shen Lan Distant Water Fishing Co., which aims to increase its krill processing. The vessel was built by state-owned China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC). The new vessel is equipped with state-of-the-art freezing technology and will service China and export markets, according to a statement from Jiangsu Shen Lan Distant Water Fishing Co.

Among the guests at the launch of the “Shen Lan” (the name translates as “Deep Blue”) was China Agricultural Vice Minister Yu Kangzhen, whose ministry is responsible for fisheries. 

Chinese fishing firms have begun to target Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) with more resources and attention in recent years, helped by support from local and national government. The government of Haimen, in Jiangsu Province, last year announced a “priority” investment project, featuring processing and research and development facilities, which will handle 50,000 tons of Antarctic krill per year. The USD 1 billion investment (EUR 895 million) will also include some tourist-targeted real estate and shopping projects. 

It appears that the Shen Lan is one of two being built, as Haimen authorities announced last year that two krill vessels with onboard processing capacity were under construction. The research facilities in Haimen – located a 90-minute drive north of Shanghai – will aim to develop “health-focused” products from the krill, according to a statement from the Propaganda Department of the local Communist Party office. 

Antarctic krill biomass for the Southern Ocean has been estimated at around 379 million metric tons, with catch limits managed under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and set at 3.75 million tons.

Photo courtesy of Jiangsu Shen Lan Distant Water Fishing Co.

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