Inland Fisheries

Freshwater fisheries and aquaculture in China. Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 168.

Overview of inland fisheries

Recent history and social organization
Status of freshwater fisheries and aquaculture


Water and its uses
Land and water development strategy

Major schemes
Hupei Province (as an example)
Integration of major, small-scale and on-farm schemes

Reservoirs and ponds
Natural lakes
Canals and creeks
On-farm water supply system
Paddy fields

Modification of paddy fields for fish



Reservoirs and lakes
Rivers and canals


Special methods

Bulk or large-scale harvesting
Bottom grading and clearing

Environmental problems



There is full integration of fishery and fish culture with water conservancy, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, sideline occupations and intensive use of land and water resources, specially at farm level.

Throughout the trip, the emphasis China places on comprehensive and intensive use of land and water resources was evident to Mission members. Water bodies for drainage or irrigation were also used for fish breeding and catching. Fish reared in these areas convert agricultural wastes to fertile water and the humus-enriched bottom mud of ponds is used as fertilizer for crops.

Watershed management seeks not merely to control erosion but also to increase water fertility. Pigs, dairy herds, manure crops and orchards are actively promoted to benefit fish production. Land consolidation includes fish ponds as well. This multi-faceted approach was impressive.

Fish polyculture is practised within the same body of water

Mixed species cultivation or polyculture is the general practice. The Mission was told that wherever there is water - in ponds, lakes, reservoirs, ditches or paddy fields-fish are being raised. Major Chinese carp species are raised in combination with other species. Monoculture is practised only in the rearing of fry.

Management of water for aquaculture consists of organic manure application and feeding. Inorganic fertilizers or commercially prepared feeds are not used. Fodder grown along dikes is the main supplementary feed. Thus, fish do not compete with people for food.

Aerators are used to increase productivity by 20 percent or more. There is stress on disease prevention. Since 1958, artificial spawning produces a reliable source of fry and fingerlings for both pond culture and for stocking lakes and reservoirs.

Lakes and reservoirs are effectively managed for all-round development.

Extension of polyculture principles in ponds to these bodies of water results in full use of natural foods in lakes and wastes from surrounding land.

Effective use of direct management methods like fertilization and systematic stocking or indirect methods like watershed management raises productivity. Generally, shallow lakes and reservoirs of the heavily populated lowlands like Taihu Lake in Kiangsu Province produce about 50–70 kg/ha in large bodies. Yields of 1 000 kg/ha were reported in lakes smaller than 1 000 ha.

The policy of “open-door” research, education and training translates itself into productivity increases.

As in other agricultural sectors, research in fisheries is problem-oriented and combines theory with practice. Researchers and farmers teach and learn from each other. At least two years' production experience is required of those who enter university or technical school. Teachers must work in the field too.

Programme planning is decentralized and enables popular participation. This results in effective implementation.

The commune structure enables farmers to plan their programmes to meet local needs. The commune, at the same time, has enough resources and skills to meet those needs. Planning and implementation are done at local level and therefore achieve effective integration and parallel development of related sectors.

Efforts to sustain community consciousness and collective action are unremitting.

At all levels of Chinese society, emphasis is given to motivating people to work for the benefit of all. The rapid development of fish production appears partly due to this mobilization of people and to their pride in their own contributions to communal production.