12.1 Organization of research
12.2 Shanghai Institute of Aquatic Products
12.3 Guangzhou Provincial Fisheries Research Institute of Aquatic Products and FAO/UNDP Training Course
12.4 Hubei Hydrobiological Research Institute
According to Gu Sandun (1975)1/, China has about 1 600 research institutes and academies, and each of the 27 provinces is said to have at least one institute of zoology or fisheries, and a museum where scientific and cultural materials are preserved and displayed. Until recently, research on biology of fish was directed at the national level by two organizations: the Academia Sinica and the Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture. In the last few years, however, there has been a considerable amount of decentralization with more provincial research institutes having a great deal of autonomy in their work. After a period of general discouragement of scientific research, and the placement of research workers in communes and production brigades to work with the farmers, the research institutions were in a state of reorganization when the study group was in China.2/The study group was therefore able to visit very few research institutions and even from these the information available was limited and not too definitive as regards future policy and plans. Nevertheless the group obtained a general idea of how research in fisheries is organized, the basis of selection of research topics and some of the on-going lines of research.
1/ Gu Sandun (1975), Fish Biology in China. Copeia, 1975, No. 2, pp. 404-12
2/ During a later visit of the group leader to China, he was informed that two new research stations concerned with aquaculture have been started, viz., the Taihu Fish Stocking Research Station in Wuxi and the Buo-Hai Gulf Aquaculture and Fish Stocking Research Project in Yian Tan in Shandong Province
Fisheries research is carried out in research institutes of the Bureau of Aquatic Products, in state-owned experimental fish farms, in central and provincial government universities and in colleges of agriculture and fisheries, and even at the grass-root levels by the so-called three-in-one groups of scientific experiments. Research in fisheries is largely of an applied nature aimed at solving practical problems of fish production and increasing productivity. This is in keeping with the policy laid down by Chairman Mao, that "scientific research must serve production". The academic interests of the scientists take second place, although they are not altogether neglected, because it is also accepted that basic research will help to advance performance in production in the long run.
Scientists are required to participate in productive labour with fish farmers and other workers so that they will learn at first hand the problems faced in production in the field and share experiences with the ordinary worker. Scientists, like other workers, have to behave, not like elites in ivory towers, but to participate in the production front in their specialized fields. This attempt to educate people to realize the quality between intellectual and physical work is part of the philosophy that is stressed everywhere.
The high priority now being accorded to scientific and technological endeavours arises from the determination of the new Chinese leadership to modernize their country before the end of this century. In a speech at the opening ceremony of the National Science Conference in Beijing on 18 March 1978, the Vice-Chairman, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, emphasized the role of scientists and technologists in achieving the national goals of the "four modernizations" in the following words: "To catch up and surpass advanced world levels within the century means that we should cover the distance in the next 22 years that it took others 40-50 years or more to cover. Scientists and technicians should concentrate their energy on scientific and technical work and the minimum demand is that five sixths of their work should be left free for scientific and technical work. The crux of the four modernizations is the mastery of modern science and technology."1/ Research in fisheries can now be expected to be given the support that was lacking for a long time.
1/ Peking Review, Vol. 21, No. 12, 24 March 1978
The study group obtained a general idea of on-going research in fisheries during visits to the Shanghai Institute of Aquatic Products, the Guangzhou Provincial Fisheries Research Institute and Experimental Freshwater Fish Breeding Farm2/ and the Hubei Hydrobiological Research Institute. In all these research institutions, research emphasis appears to be on the following areas:
- productivity studies on lakes, rivers, reservoirs and fish ponds, and assessment of carrying capacity, population densities, biology of cultivated species and measures for increasing fish production;
- research on introduction of new cultured species, genetic studies for stock improvement, developing hybrid fish resistant to certain diseases or faster-growing strains of cultured fish;
- research on diseases of cultured fish, their prevention, control and treatment - this is given prominence due to the prevalence of fish disease in Chinese fish culture;
- pollution studies, such as pollution ecology, toxicology and disposal of industrial wastes and sewage, especially as they affect fish production in fresh waters.2/ This institute has since been divided into two: the Tsu Kiang Research Institute, dealing with freshwater fisheries and the South Sea Fishery Institute, dealing with marine fisheries
The group observed that little or no work was being done on fish feeds and fish nutrition although Prof. Liao Hsianghao of the Department of Zoology, Sun Yat Sen University, indicated that some work in this area is expected to be initiated soon.
3/ It is understood that the name has now been changed to the Eastern Sea Fishery Institute
Established in 1958, the Institute is run under the Bureau of Aquatic Products, with a staff of 300, of which 120 are university or college of agriculture graduates. There are five specialized departments, viz., fishing gear technology, fish processing, icthyology, taxonomy, and freshwater fish cultivation. The freshwater fish cultivation department works mainly on the fishery resources of Ting Shan Lake and the estuaries of River Yangtze, including the effect of dams on the fish production in the river. Proposed studies on aquaculture include work on the major Chinese carps, the introduction of new species for culture, induced breeding, the role of aerators in fish production in ponds, cage culture and the use of warm water effluents from industries to ensure high production in fish ponds. The Institute has a large collection of fish in their museum.
Apart from purely research functions, the Shanghai Institute of Aquatic Products, like other similar institutes elsewhere, offers technical advice and training on prevention and cure of fish diseases, artificial propagation and other aspects of fish culture to the communes within its area. Short-term training is given for technicians from commune fish farms. The scientists also often participate in actual fish production in farms to demonstrate new techniques. During such work with the farmers the scientists learn at first hand the problems encountered in production and are able to gear their research to solving such problems.
The FAO Training Course on Aquaculture in Guangzhou is run by the Guangzhou Provincial Fisheries Research Institute and the Experimental Freshwater Fish Breeding Farm. At the time of the study group's visit, 19 Bangladesh trainees were at the training centre undergoing a course in artificial propagation of farm fish. The four-month course covers four aspects: techniques of artificial propagation; rearing of fry and fingerlings; cultivation of adult fish in ponds, and the prevention of fish diseases.
The trainees interviewed expressed general satisfaction with the course, but had language problems, as they had to use interpreters, which made lectures very slow.
Practical training in fish farming is provided at the Experimental Freshwater Fish Breeding Farm nearby where there are 200 mu of fish ponds. The lecturers for the FAO course are drawn from neighbouring higher institutions as well as from the Guangzhou Provincial Fisheries Research Institute and Experimental Freshwater Fish Breeding Farm, and emphasis is placed on practical work.
This Institute at Hubei, which was built in 1950 with an initial staff of 30, has grown into one of the best research institutes in fisheries in China. It has a staff strength of 385, of which 204 are scientific personnel, 31 of professor and assistant professor rank. The Institute has six research laboratories, each with specific research functions:
Ichthyology Laboratory: This laboratory deals with fish taxonomy and ecology. There is a good collection of freshwater fish in the museum representing most of the 750 species found in China. A book on the "Fish of the Yangtze River" has been published by this laboratory.
Genetics Laboratory: The main work of this laboratory at present relates to induced breeding and physiology of fish, especially cultured fish. Success was achieved recently in breeding Plagiognathops microlepis which has now been introduced for fish culture in 19 provinces. Genetic studies are being carried out with promising results on cross-breeding of male mirror carp with female red variety of common carp, and of wuchan fish with grass carp to produce improved varieties.
Fish Disease Laboratory: Research on various fish diseases, their prevention, cure and control is carried out in this laboratory. Work has been done on ten common fish diseases in China, including gill rot, whitehead and white spot diseases and haemorrhage of grass carp. "A Monograph of Pathogenic Fauna and Flora of Fish Diseases" and "Handbook on Prevention and Cure of Fish Diseases" are two of the important works published.
Lakes and Reservoirs Laboratory: In this laboratory, research on biological productivity of water bodies is studied with the aim of evolving measures for increasing fish production. Research is also done on the control of predatory fish in reservoirs. Two monographs have been published, viz., "Chinese Freshwater Rotifers" and "Chinese Freshwater Cladocera".
Phycology Laboratory: Studies on freshwater algae, including taxonomy, ecology, and physiology and genetics, are done here. The laboratory carries out work on nitrogen-fixing algae, especially blue-green algae and their culture in rice fields as a source of fertilizer. A monograph, "Chinese Edogoneacea" has been published.
Environmental Protection Laboratory: This laboratory is concerned with studies on pollution, ecology and toxicology, with special reference to the treatment and disposal of industrial effluents and sewage.
The journal, "Acta Hydrobiologica Sinica", is published by the Institute. The institute is currently funded by the provincial government, but previously belonged to the group of institutes controlled by Academia Sinica.1/ There used to be a research advisory board, comprising representatives of the institute and other important research institutes and universities which, although abandoned during the years of the "gang of four" influence, has now been restored.
1/ It is understood that the institute has since been transferred back to the control of Academia Sinica