China has a long history of aquaculture. Since the 1980s, mariculture has been considered by the government as an increasingly important sub-sector of aquaculture. Mariculture provides nutritional and economic benefits, and decreases the intensity of exploitation on declining wild living resources. China now has the highest mariculture production in the world. Kelp made up 5060% the total Chinese mariculture production in 19671980. Production of Laminaria japonicaAresch, the leading species, reached 252, 907 t (dry wet) in 1980. The percentage of kelp production decreased after 1981 because of proportionally greater production of molluscs, shrimps and finfish. Marine finfish and mollusc production increased sharply after 1990. In 2001, the total mariculture production reached 11,315,000 t from a production area of 1,286,000 ha. The rapid development and changes in mariculture species have aroused increasing concern about maricultures impact on the coastal environment. The impact of coastal aquaculture, such as water quality deterioration and contaminants, will have a significant bearing on the expansion of mariculture. The key of improving and maintaining the long-term health of mariculture zones lies in adopting sustainable culture systems. It is imperative that the density of stocking fish and other economically important organisms such as oysters, and scallops, be controlled, in addition to restricting the total number of net-cages in the mariculture zones. The authors suggest moving rafts (cages) periodically and to development of a fallow system in which area fish culture will be suspended for 12 years to facilitate recovery of the polluted sediment. Moving fish culture offshore into deeper waters is also suggested. The authors also believe that large-scale seaweed cultivation will reduce eutrophication in coastal culture zones in China.
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