November 3, 2022


Farmers in Inner Mongolia profit from shrimp aquaculture


Shrimp aquaculture has become a lucrative source of income for farmers in in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, thanks to Wu Tao, a local sci-tech expert who discovered that the area's high salinity in the soil could be beneficial to shrimp farming, Fish Information & Services reported.


Wu Tao was dispatched to Inner Mongolia by the Ordos agriculture and animal husbandry bureau. Wu said there were many challenges, such as the shrimp seedlings had to undergo a 10-day desalination process prior to reaching the same salinity as the nearby water,. Before being planted in outdoor ponds, the seedlings were raised for an additional 20 to 30 days in the greenhouse.


For the past few years, local villagers have been involved in shrimp farming. Wu's employer, the Hangjin League, intends to produce more than 250 tonnes of shrimp this year with total sales of CNY million yuan (~US$2.1 million; CNY 1 = US$0.14)


Shrimp farming makes positive environmental contributions as well. According to Zhu Changbo, a researcher with the South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, desert regions experience little rainfall and intense sunlight, and the groundwater evaporating from these areas transports a lot of salt to the surface.


As salinization rises, fewer plants will be able to survive, and the topsoil will eventually turn to sand, he said.


Farmers typically soak the land in Yellow River water to remove surface salt in the saline and alkaline areas along the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia, and then the saline water is discharged through the drainage canal. Consequently, a lot of saline water resources are lost each year.


Saline water can be used in shrimp farming ponds, Zhu said. Harvesting shrimp is the same as taking a lot of salt out of the water in one go. The presence of ponds raises groundwater levels, which is advantageous for plant growth and soil stabilisation to prevent desertification.


By creating a "fishery oasis" in the desert, experts hope to transform saline water fishing into a distinctive component of desert management.


Since 2012, China has sent nearly 300,000 science and technology specialists to rural areas as part of efforts to reduce poverty, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.


Sending these experts to rural areas has the following goals: to popularise agricultural science and technology, to encourage sci-tech innovation and entrepreneurship, to support efforts to end poverty, and to promote rural vitalization.


-      Fish Information & Services

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