Apart from pond fish culture, open-water fish farming accounts for most of the remaining output.
However, large-scale production only began after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.More recently, after China opened up to the outside world in the 1980's, the sector has been growing dramatically, becoming one of the fastest growing sectors among the agriculture industries in China.Marine fish and shellfish were farmed slightly more recently, dating back 1 700 - 2 000 years."Fan Li on Pisciculture" is the earliest existing work in China on fish farming.Most pond culture activities are distributed along the Yangtze River basin and the Pearl River basin covering 7 provinces: Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui, Jiangxi and Shanghai, where inland aquaculture output accounted for 67.62 percent of the country's total.
In the formerly less developed areas, primarily in the north, northeast and northwest regions, such as Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Ganshu, Ningxia and Xinjiang, the share of freshwater aquaculture as a proportion of the country's total has grown from 2.80 percent in 1979 to 15.42 percent in 2002.
The average unit output of inland aquaculture increased from 297 kg/ha in 1979 to 3 185 kg/ha in 2003, an increase of 2 888 kg, or about 10.72 times.
The table below illustrates the unit output of different culture systems.
The development of aquaculture has helped to create job opportunities in China's fishery regions and rural areas.
In 2003 the total number of full-time workers involved in aquaculture production was about 4.3 million (working more than 6 months a year).
It is also the first written work in the world on fish farming and sums up the rich experience of raising carp in ponds in the fifth century B. Fish culture in China has always been a family business based on experience accumulated over generations.