Sturgeon farming brings hilly province closer to the world

(Xinhua) 10:07, October 30, 2023

GUIYANG, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Deep inside the craggy mountains of Libo County in southwest China's Guizhou Province, fish farmers were sorting through a large catch of sturgeons destined for a journey spanning thousands of miles.

"We have exported nearly 200 tonnes of sturgeons to Laos this year," said Geng Zhiqian, general manager of a local aquaculture firm. Roughly two years ago, the company completed its first sturgeon export deal, with Vietnam as the destination.

Geng said that with the cooling weather, which is conducive to long-distance food transportation, the company will export more sturgeons to Southeast Asian countries.

In recent years, sturgeon breeding has become one of the most distinctive agricultural sectors in mountainous Guizhou. Known as one of the most sensitive aquatic species to water pollutants, sturgeons have found paradise in the province's cold and crystal-clear spring water.

Despite the ideal breeding conditions, sturgeons are not a preferred choice for the local palate. Fish farmers have therefore looked outward for business opportunities.

Zhang Cuilan, currently serving as the head of the sturgeon association in Huishui County and one of Guizhou's earliest sturgeon breeders, said that over the past eight years, she has expanded her business into Guangdong, a region with a longstanding tradition of sturgeon consumption.

Along with her fellow sturgeon breeders, Zhang has benefited from the country's cross-regional collaboration and pairing assistance, a campaign that has facilitated the entry of sturgeons from Huishui into the aquaculture market of the southern metropolis of Guangzhou.

Capitalizing on the trend of deep processing, Zhang's farm has diversified its offerings to include additional products like sturgeon meat floss, soup and caviar, thereby expanding the scope of the industrial chain. During the National Day holiday this year, the total sales of such products topped 1 million yuan (about 139,300 U.S. dollars).

With the sturgeon industry gathering steam, Guizhou has scaled up policy support for breeders, enabling them to enhance their presence in international markets.

For instance, the provincial government has doubled efforts to promote the utilization of aquaculture technology, bolster the development of cold-chain logistics, and help more sturgeon breeding firms obtain export licenses.

Boosted by the expansion of exports, the total output of sturgeons in Guizhou reached 26,000 tonnes last year, ranking second nationwide, official data showed.

Besides Libo and Huishui, an increasing number of county-level regions are jumping on the bandwagon of sturgeon exports, with the aim of introducing local specialties from the mountains to consumers worldwide.

"We will continue to focus on deep processing and exploring markets so that our sturgeons can reach more destinations all across the world," Zhang said.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


Related Stories