Xiapu County, located in Ningde city, southeast China’s Fujian Province, has successfully coordinated ecological conservation and economic development, transforming itself into a stunning coastal county with a thriving mariculture and tourism industry.
With a coastline of 500 kilometers and a sea area of 28,900 square kilometers, Xiapu is blessed with abundant fishery resources, with more than half of its population engaged in the fishery sector. The county boasts an annual output value of the mariculutre over 10 billion yuan (about $1.42 billion).
Xiapu started to actively promote maricluture in the 1990s. More than a decade ago, Dong Zu, a fisherman from Qixing village in Xi’nan township, Xiapu, entered the mariculture industry with over 10 large yellow croaker net cages. The cultivation of large yellow croakers proved to be profitable for Dong.
However, the increasing stocking density in mariculture had led to the spread of fish diseases and death, and the sprawl of mariculutre had once seriously threatened the local marine ecology. In response, Xiapu began a comprehensive campaign in July 2018 to standardize and make its mariculture sustainable. The county issued a plan to carry out comprehensive management of seawater and transform and upgrade fish breeding, including replacing foam floaters with eco-friendly ones. Designated personnel from multiple departments were also sent to major coastal towns and townships to enhance the management of the mariculture industry.
Dong took the lead in replacing foam floaters with eco-friendly ones in his aquaculture area. The total output value of his large yellow croakers doubled, and the quality and survival rate of the fish significantly improved. To encourage fishermen to upgrade farming facilities, the local government provided subsidies for them. After three years of efforts, Xiapu replaced all the foam floaters, removed floating garbage, and helped fishermen raise marine environmental awareness, gradually restoring the marine ecology.
“The quality and survival rate of large yellow croakers were significantly improved. In addition, the eco-friendly floaters are more typhoon-resistant and have a long service life,” said Dong.
Leveraging its breathtaking natural scenery, Xiapu started developing tourism as a key industry and encouraging villagers to run B&B and agritainment businesses in 2013. Nowadays, it is not easy for tourists to get a room in B&B hotels in Xiapu during the peak tourist season. The county saw over 7 million tourist visits in 2022, with revenue exceeding 6 billion yuan.
“Improved ecology is bringing better livelihoods to people and driving Xiapu’s development,” said Guo Wensheng, the Party chief of the county, adding that the county will further protect its marine environment, vigorously develop the marine environment, and advance the coordinated development of ecological conservation and economy. Xiapu is an excellent example of how ecological conservation and economic development can go hand in hand, creating a sustainable future for both the environment and the local community.
Source : People’s Daily Online