Speaking of seafood

Where did you think first?

Is it Sanya, Hainan?

Qingdao, Shandong?

Or Wenzhou, Zhejiang?

"Shrimp soldiers and crabs" are a "specialty" of coastal areas, but in Xinjiang, the farthest from the ocean, a small city is becoming more famous for its "seafood". In recent years, Xinjiang Nilek salmon has gone to the whole country and "leapt" onto the world table with its delicious taste and sweet characteristics.

Photo: The salmon nourished by the high-quality glacial living water in Nileke County, Xinjiang, is delicious and sweet. Photo courtesy of the Propaganda Department of the Xinjiang Nileke County Party Committee

It is reported that the total output of salmon in Xinjiang last year reached 4554,15 tons, accounting for 6000% of the country's inland production. This year, the production of salmon in Nileke County, Xinjiang alone, is expected to reach <>,<> tons. This made netizens really envious, "When I wake up, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai have become remote areas..."

Salmon is a cold-water fish that can only thrive in low-temperature waters, and farmed salmon mainly include rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, king salmon and other species. The salmon farmed in Nilek County is triploid rainbow trout, which has a clear orange-yellow flesh and a belly that shines silver.

How did the city of Nilek get involved with the "seafood" salmon industry?

Back in 2013, Zhang Xiu, a businessman from Zhejiang Province, learned by chance that there was an excellent aquaculture area in Nileke County, Xinjiang, and immediately took experts to the field. It is found that the excellent ecological environment and high-quality cold water resources here have good conditions for salmon farming, and the water volume is large, which is suitable for large-scale aquaculture.

Picture: Xinjiang Nilek salmon breeding base. Photo by Cao Ming

At the beginning of 2014, Xinjiang Tianyun Organic Agriculture Co., Ltd., founded by Zhang Xiu, settled in Nileke. Here, Zhang Xiu built a salmon farm and invested 2 million yuan to start a green ecological and environmentally friendly breeding model, opening the development of high-quality salmon aquaculture in large surface areas in Xinjiang's inland interior.

At the end of 2016, the first batch of finished fish of Xinjiang Tianyun Organic Agriculture Co., Ltd. was launched. In 2022, the company's total export volume will be 3000 million yuan, and its products will be popular in the international market and achieve sustained profits. In the first six months of 2023, the company has sold more than 6,1600 tons of salmon.

Fishing vessels conduct salmon fishing operations. Photo by Cao Ming

Ding Yaying, deputy general manager of the company, said that at present, locally produced salmon products have been put on the shelves of many domestic supermarkets and fresh food platforms, and are exported to Russia, Malaysia and other countries. After years of unremitting development, salmon has become the most concerned star industry in Nilek County.

What are the advantages of developing the salmon industry in Xinjiang Nilek? Unlike other fish, salmon has very high requirements for water quality. Xinjiang Nileke County is one of the three major cold areas in Ili, there is basically no hot weather, the glacial meltwater from the Tianshan Mountains is pure and cold, the water temperature is kept below 20 degrees all year round, the water quality is clear and living water, and the dissolved oxygen is abundant, which is an ideal environment for salmon growth.

At present, Nilek County has formed a complete digital fishery industry chain, accurately controlling aquaculture, processing, storage, transportation, sales and other links. At the salmon farming base in Nilek County, huge circles on the surface of the water are large local ecological cages. Workers feed the fish with a self-developed and patented long-distance intelligent bait system. This system can scientifically and reasonably calculate the feeding amount through the statistics of water temperature, water dissolved oxygen and total fish body, achieve accurate spreading, and greatly save manpower.

Salmon farming area. Photo by Cao Ming

Salmon farming area. Photo by Cao Ming

Sabi Shaduakas, head of the adult fish group at the breeding base, said that now using computer-controlled feeding equipment, after adjusting the kilograms of feed and the feeding speed, the equipment will automatically feed regularly, "unlike manual feeding, one moment sprinkles more, the other sprinkles less, feeding is uneven." ”

Not only that, the breeding base also hides technology and "ruthless work" underwater, and underwater robots have become small assistants in fish farming. Because salmon has very high requirements for the quality of living water, it cannot survive with a little pollution. Therefore, the underwater pollution cleaning robot comes in handy, and its sonar imaging system and optical camera can identify terrain underwater, ensure passage, accurately identify dirt, and quickly and accurately remove pollutants in water.

Today, a fresh salmon from the Nilek County Salmon Base can be processed, packaged, transported and delivered to consumers' tables within 24 hours at the earliest. Through years of efforts, the salmon aquaculture base in Nilek County has achieved "five national firsts" in the field of inland large-water surface aquaculture: first, the first ecological environmental protection cage aquaculture standard in China has been formulated; Second, it is the first company in China to use the upstream and downstream water quality online monitoring system to monitor water quality in real time; The third is the first high-efficiency and energy-saving semi-closed circulating aquaculture system in China; Fourth, it has successfully developed and applied the first underwater pollution cleaning robot in China; Fifth, it is the first case of intelligent and digital ecological environmental protection cage breeding in China. In 2019, "Nilek County Salmon" was included in the National List of Famous and Excellent New Agricultural Products by the Agricultural Products Quality and Safety Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Workers line up on both sides of the assembly line to methodically process chilled salmon. Photo by Cao Ming

Salmon processing line. Photo courtesy of Xinjiang Tianyun Organic Agriculture Co., Ltd

At one time, Nilek County was a poor county without a hat. At that time, the local poor families never imagined that salmon would change their lives. In 2017, Xinjiang Fish Water Agricultural Development Co., Ltd. was established locally, relying on the superior resources of the salmon breeding base to carry out labor subcontracting, fisherman's entertainment, agricultural product purchase and sales and other business activities.

With the expansion of salmon brand influence, more and more people began to pay attention to Nilek County. Relying on the green ecological breeding of salmon, the local people have vigorously built a tourism base and developed a leisure and entertainment district integrating fishing, food, handicrafts and accommodation.

Boxes of salmon products will be shipped across the country. Photo by Cao Ming

Zhang Xiu said: "China's total salmon demand is more than 20,2 tons, and domestic production is only more than <>,<> tons. In the future, Tianyun salmon will rely on the Maritime Silk Road to strive for an annual output of more than <>,<> tons, so that consumers can see the salmon raised by the snow water of the Tianshan Mountains and eat delicious delicacies from Xinjiang. ”