China launches $700 million AI-powered offshore salmon farm

Matthew Wilcox

Offshore salmon farm the height of a 20-story building is expected to be operational from March and can hold as many as one million salmon. 

The “Shenlan 2,” a large-scale, intelligent deep-sea farming cage, was launched in Qingdao earlier this month and is expected to be operational by the end of March 2024.

Shandong Ocean Group’s latest venture into offshore salmon farming represents an investment of approximately 5 billion Chinese Yuan ($700 million), according to local media outlet Iquilu.

The “Shenlan 2” cage measures 71.5 meters in height, the height of a 20 story building, and 70 meters in diameter, with a design that allows it to be submerged, encompassing a 90,000 cubic meter volume, allowing for as many as one million salmon to be raised at the same time, according to reports.

It represents China’s largest and most ambitious foray into the world of deep-sea farming, and is designed for operation in the country’s deepest and most remote offshore areas.

Equipped with a suite of intelligent farming technologies, “Shenlan 2” includes an automatic feeding system, hydrological and meteorological measurement systems, underwater imaging, and lighting systems, as well as biomass monitoring systems.

These features are integral to the project’s goal of advancing unmanned deep-sea farming, pushing the boundaries of automation and intelligence in deep-sea aquaculture.

This initiative is a key part of China’s ongoing efforts to develop and expand its aquaculture industry and follows up on the success of its smaller predecessor, “Shenlan 1”, which completed its first harvest in 2022. 

The new cage, however, represents a significant advance when compared to its predecessor, according to the company.

“At its core lies the biomass monitoring system, a high-end, intelligent system dedicated to serving and ensuring the welfare of fish schools. This system enables real-time online monitoring of various aspects of fish schools, including the size and weight of individual fish, their activity patterns, distribution, eating characteristics, and growth status.”

The farm was jointly launched by Shandong Marine Group, Wanzefeng Group, and Qingdao Ocean Investment Group.


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