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China Breakthroughs: Firms develop 4.0-intelligent fisheries in Norway

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

10-21-2017 10:28 BJT

Full coverage: China Breakthroughs

By Tom McGregor, CCTV.com Panview commentator and editor

The Chinese are getting a stronger taste for eating seafood, especially for imported fish that come from the surrounding European waters.

The European Union (EU) upholds one of the world's strictest standards on food safety, while the Chinese middle class and the wealthy have demonstrated a bigger focus to live a so-called "well-being" lifestyle that requires them to eat safe and nutritious meals, exercise regularly and to forgo bad habits.

Hence, many Chinese have become more willing to spend a premium for imported foods that suit their needs.

The Nordic nations - Norway, Sweden and Finland - have held a long and rich history in the fisheries industry and the chilly coastal waters are a rich breeding ground for salmon and other species of fish that have become popular for Chinese consumers in recent years.

                                                           A Norwegian fisherman

Yet, exporting an abundant supply of salmon to China and the Asia-Pacific region would not be sustainable unless Nordic seafood companies can adapt by utilizing new technologies, such as a 4.0 intelligent support system that is widely-used in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

Accordingly, Norwegian fisheries have been setting up offshore ocean farming in cooperation with Chinese aquaculture-related companies to expand global operations.

1st-of-its-kind offshore fishing

In early June 2017, the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. (CSIC) had set a cargo ship for sail from east China's port city, Qingdao, which would deliver its first batch of intelligent offshore ocean farming facilities callled, Ocean Farm 1, to a Norwegian company, Kverva-based SalMar ASA.

The ocean farm will be located in Frahavet, just off the coast of central Norway, and scheduled to start operations in the latter half of the year.

The equipment, which has a total value of $US300 million, includes the first offshore salmon farming devices that come equipped with semi-submersible installations, which have routinely been used by companies that are engaged in the offshore oil & gas drilling sector.

The ocean farm is expected to use the latest and most advanced technologies, such as automatic fishing, hydro-logical monitoring, deep-sea positioning and biological light adjustment systems that will be placed in ocean waters that will dive down 100-300-m. deep.

The facility is expected to have a 25-year lifespan and stand resistant to typhoon-strength storms with capacity to cultivate over 1.5 million fish annually.

Global opportunities for aquaculture

The offshore fisheries industry offers a number of advantages for seafood companies and customers. Salmon are more healthy swimming in the ocean's currents, while only 3-7 full-time employees are required to keep the facility operational.

"It is highly possible for more marine production companies from countries such as the United States, Canada, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom to purchase such facilities if they can prove themselves reliable and advanced," Dong Liwan, professor at Shanghai Maritime University, told China Daily.

Dong added, "Leading Chinese shipyards are in a better position to compete with rivals in South Korea or Singapore, especially in the fields of ultra-deep water semi-submersible drilling rigs, manned submersibles."

Yang Zhigang, chairman of CSIC’s Wuchang Group, said the project combines the best of the Norwegian aquaculture industry that coincide with China's offshore engineering technologies and expertise.

Meanwhile, more Chinese equipment manufacturing companies are hoping to expand by tapping in the EU market and investing into Nordic fisheries with 4.0 adaptations could lead to some profitable ventures.

Rising fortunes for China-Norway ties

Offshore fish farms may soon become very trendy in the near future, since Chinese engineering firms can easily convert equipment used by offshore oil & gas drilling rigs and utilize them as submersible fisheries.

Additionally, China's growing appetite for all things seafood and Norway's huge supply of salmon can inspire closer ties between the two nations.

In May 2017, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg led a trade delegation on a state visit to China.

PM Solberg was accompanied by senior executives working for major seafood companies, including Kongsberg Maritime AS, which has launched the world's first automated aquaculture facility in the country.

The Kongsberg site has adapted systems including: telecoms, positioning packages, cameras, echo sounders and sensors. The company has installed 3D fisheries in a vast water volume to ensure effective feeding, as reported by Maritime Executive.

Kongsberg has combined marine engineering, marine cybernetics and marine biology with a Big Data approach along with setting up sensors and state-of-the-art aquaculture support systems to develop more enhanced fisheries.

Fishing for the ages

The fishing industry keeps changing with the times, since new technologies and methods continue to be upgraded almost on a daily basis.

All those working in the sector are expected to keep up with the latest advances to ensure that there's plenty of seafood to catch and to sell to consumers worldwide.

Accordingly, Norway and China have made the right move to work together on developing offshore fish farms, so they can partner up to sell more salmon and other Nordic fish to hungry customers on a global scale.

Tmcgregorchina@yahoo.com

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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