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Crayfish industry brings new life to Qianjiang in central China

(People's Daily Online)    13:44, July 06, 2018

Workers peel crayfish at a factory in Qianjiang, central China’s Hubei province, May 23, 2018. These workers come to the city in April before the peak crayfish-eating season begins and leave by August when the season ends.

Crayfish, primarily enjoyed in summer, have created an industry chain in Qianjiang City, central China’s Hubei province.

41-year-old Su Lijun works in the industry. With 1,500 workers peeling crayfish for him, the factory branch that Su manages can easily produce 12 tons of crayfish meat per day, while company wide, the maximum production can reach 300 tons every day.

According to an annual report on China’s crayfish industry development, the total crayfish yield in Qianjiang was 70,413 tons in 2017, the 3rd largest in the country.

Crayfish were first discovered in Qianjiang in 1988. During the years that followed, the crustacean was only served up on local dinner tables. It wasn't until 2001 that farmers started to catch and sell the crayfish at markets.

Farmer Ma Yulin collects crayfish in his rice fields, May 24, 2018.

Qianjiang now breeds crayfish in rice fields, these fields providing crayfish with enough water to grow while they, in turn, help crop ecology by loosening the soil, eating the grass and providing fertilizer.

This new mode allows farmers to produce two batches of crayfish every year, compared with one previously. By 2017, Qianjiang had 640,000 mu, or 43,000 hectares, of land to breed crayfish, of which 93 percent is for the combined cultivation of crayfish and rice.

Photo shows a crayfish sculpture in Qianjiang, central China’s Hubei province, May 23, 2018

Ma Yulin, 64, says he earns over 100,000 yuan during the four month crayfish season by selling his stock to factories. He goes out to the fields to collect his crayfish at 1 a.m. and takes them to local factories at 6 a.m.

Now, Qianjiang is home to 13 crayfish companies that can process a combined sum of 300,000 tons of crayfish in a single year.

The crayfish festival has also boosted crayfish consumption. It's been reported that the city received 150 million yuan in investment to build itself into a tourism base. Now, the city has more than 2,000 crayfish restaurants that can accommodate up to 20,000 hungry diners every day.

Diners enjoy themselves in Qianjiang, central China’s Hubei province, May 24, 2018 

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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