Korea invests in aquaculture in anticipation of growing seafood demand

Korea invests in aquaculture in anticipation of growing seafood demand


Countries around the world are pouring funds
into clean technology to raise fish and various other forms of seafood in aquaculture farms
to meet growing demand. Korea is no exception. It’s experimenting with ways to make the technology
even better. Kim Hyesung reports. Here at the National Institute of Fisheries
Science, eel, a favorite with Koreans, grow at a healthy rate in these round tanks. “The white liquid you see is the sperm.” Researchers are inseminating the sperm with
eggs to breed eel, and they say finding the right timing and feed are critical, which
is why it takes decades to perfect the process. To speed things up, the Institute has invested
over five million U.S. dollars in eel aquaculture since 2008. Four years later, in 2012, they cultivated
artificial eel eggs, and three years after that, they hatched their first glass eel,
which produced its own eggs. “Researchers are successfully breeding eel
here in a completely controlled environment. Not only that, in terms of pollack, they also
became first in the world to do so.” Pollack have been absent from Korean waters
for more than a decade due to overfishing and rising ocean temperatures. But Korean scientists have developed a feed
that can survive in low temperatures…and for the first time they raised a second generation
of pollack this year. But experts say that for Korea to become a
major player in the global aquafarming industry, greater investment and policy changes are
needed. “In Korea, fish farms are small operations
with about three farmers each, which helps produce a diverse range of fish but makes
mass production difficult. A change in the current aquaculture law, which
bars conglomerates, is needed.” “Norway, the world’s largest exporter of salmon,
has companies managing the entire value chain, reducing costs and maximizing benefits. Countries like Denmark or Japan are also investing
in clean technologies like smart-farming and equipment for high-quality mass production.” That’s why the Institute is testing a remote-control
system called RAS, which is scheduled to be commercialized by 2019. “The system lets people check temperatures,
acidity levels and water circulation from afar, which could reduce labor costs and facilitate
mass production.” With the global population expected to reach
nine billion by 2050, the demand for protein is expected to grow by 70 percent. And the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
has pointed to fish as a promising future source of protein in the future. And to meet that demand, here in Korea, researchers
are working to advance the technology… so fish farmers can make the transition from
catching fish to raising them. Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.

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