On the coast of the Bohai Sea, in the Northeast of China, the activities of heavy industries and off-shore drillings during the last decades have turned this gulf into a very prosperous economic area, in part responsible for the country’s extraordinary boom. On the down side, the region has become an infamous spot for pollution, significantly affecting, among others, the fishing sector. The latter had already been in difficulties because of overexploitation of maritime resources. Yet, in response to an ever-increasing domestic demand for seafood numerous new fish farms have settled along the shores. Experts speak about more than 400 breeding farms in the region.
Lao Li is one of the kings of the fishing sector. He decided to literally follow the slogan in force since the economic reforms: to become as rich as possible! Present here already for a few years, he produces small fry and breeds different seafish. With about thirty employees working on his farm, helped by his nephew, and a faithful foreman taking care of the workers, he concentrates on management issues and “delicate missions”. If the breeding of fish can be lucrative, it is also expensive and requires specific skills: sharp water management to insure its cleanliness as well as the proper temperature and salinity. It also asks for an important quantity of small fish to feed the bigger ones. It needs careful surveying every day, or else fish become sick or die one after the other. Food safety for future customers is at stake. It is thus not easy to grow rich in so dirty waters…
While thin and large tubes, open-air tanks and covered ponds are crowding the horizon, local natural resources are dangerously diminishing: aquifers dry out, the quality of the sea water deteriorates, the fish resources are shrinking: the system is clearly running towards disaster. Nobody knows until when… Perhaps the plan to build a highway along the coast will put an end to this situation?
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