Spatial planning of coastal and offshore cage aquaculture on the Shandong Peninsula, China

This project focuses on the continuing development and application of an existing decision support system (SYSMAR) for the management of cage aquaculture on the Shandong Peninsula in China. Preliminary results of the application of the system for supporting the development of a coastal management planning are presented.

Shandong spatial planning map

Figure 1. Existing coastal planning of the Shandong Province from 2011 to 2020 (People's Government of Shandong Province , 2012).


Project Details

In the framework of the project SPLASH a Coastal Management System (CMS) has been developed for the Shandong Peninsula. The project is funded jointly by the German Ministry of Education and Research and the China Academy of Sciences from November 2011 to February 2015. The CMS has been tailored to handle several issues of relevance to the region. Emphasis is given to the design of coastal protection measures, risks assessments due to storms and climate change and also for the management of coastal and offshore cage aquaculture. The system implements high-resolution flow and wave models covering the entire Bohai Sea. Along the Shandong Peninsula a coupled 3D model is used.
For handling issues related to the planning of coastal cage aquaculture a decision support system under development at the Research and Technology Centre (SYSMAR) was embedded within the CMS of the Shandong Peninsula. For this purpose flow and wave simulations covering a wide range of scenarios of relevance to fish farming activities were carried out. In addition to typical weather conditions, extreme storms events and predicted sea level rise for the next 100 years were considered. The suitability criteria for offshore cage culture proposed by Chen et al. (2008) were used in the initial assessment. Inshore cage culture, on the other hand, requires accounting for water quality and sediment dynamics in addition to the hydrodynamic criteria (Beveridge, 1984).
Figure 2 shows the resulting suitable sites for fish farming activities. Comparisons of the results with the existing coastal planning adopted by the Chinese authorities (see Figure 1) show in general good agreement. However, due to the strong hydrodynamics, offshore cage culture is not recommended on the east of the Shandong Peninsula. Besides, care should be taken in the planning of floating fish cages in the north of the Bohai strait. Further assessments taking in consideration the existence of marine conservation areas within the fish farming zones are currently underway.

Suitability map Shandong 
Figure 2. Sites suited for coastal and offshore cage aquaculture at the Shandong Peninsula, China. Results of the application of SYSMAR in comparison with the existing coastal planning.

Research division

CORELAB – Remote Sensing Systems


Prof. Dr. R. Mayerle
Research and Technology Centre Westcoast, University of Kiel (FTZ)
Dr. Chen Tang
Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (YIC), Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


MSc G. Dalledone (FTZ)
MSc N. Fery (FTZ)
MSc Xiangyang Zheng (FTZ)


November 2011 to Feb 2015


German Ministry of Education and Research


Beveridge, M. C. M. (1984). Cage and pen fish farming : Carrying capacity models and environmental impact. FAO Fisheries Technical paper  255. ISSN 04299345.

Chen, J., Guang, C., Xu, H., Chen, Z., Xu, P., Yan, X., Wang, Y. and Liu, J. (2008). Marine fish cage culture in China. In A. Lovatelli, M.J. Phillips, J.R. Arthur and K. Yamamoto (eds). FAO/NACA Regional Workshop on the Future of Mariculture: a Regional Approach for Responsible Development in the Asia-Pacific Region. Guangzhou, China, 7–11 March 2006. FAO Fisheries Proceedings. No. 11. Rome, FAO. 2008. pp. 285–299.

People's Government of Shandong Province (2012). Marine function zoning of Shandong Province (2011~2020). (Report No. 0121-02-2014-000001) retrieved from [in chinese].

Wulp van der, S.A., Niederndorfer, K.R., Hesse, K-J., Runte, K-H., Mayerle, R. & Hanafi, A. (2010): Sustainable Environmental MAnagement for Tropical Floating Net Cage Mariculture, A Modelling Approach.  XVIIthWorld Congress of the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR). 13th-17th June, 2010. Québec City, Canada.