Exports of farmed shrimp, eel, tilapia, shellfish and seaweed have also formed the backbone of Chinese seafood exports, accounting for about 50 percent of national seafood exports in terms of value.
The rapid development of aquaculture in China has not only contributed to improved food supply, but has also generated employment and income to the Chinese people.
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.
The technologies used were primitive and relatively low in yield compared to present advanced techniques.
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.
Nowadays, Chinese fish farmers not only practice intensive culture in pond systems, but have also used this method in open-waters such as reservoirs, lakes, rivers and channels, by using cages, net enclosures and pens.
The most commonly farmed species are carps, Chinese bream and blunt-snout bream.
Since the 1980's, with increasing domestic and international market demand, various species have been developed or introduced from abroad for commercial cultivation in China such as Japanese eel ( Pond culture is the most popular and most important farming system in China, accounting for an estimated 70.54 percent of all inland aquaculture output in 2003.
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.