Shandong Fish Life

Published in Royal Photographic Society Contemporary Photography Journal, 2017.

In 2010, China accounted for 60% of global aquaculture production. China's 2005 reported aquaculture harvest was 32.4 million tonnes, more than 10 times that of the second-ranked nation, India. In coastal provinces, fish is not just central to the cuisine, but a strategic property and a cause of political tension at home and abroad. Over the past three decades, the number of people who work in China’s fishing industry has increased by more than 10 million. Government reform policies have made fishing a significantly more lucrative trade than farming. As a result, workers from inland provinces have been attracted to the fishing industry. Local women now make up the majority of the fish-processing workforce. As a result of the high demand for fish and seafood for consumption, the fishing industry has had an important role to play in the ongoing disputes with neighbouring countries over the South China Seas. The photographs in this series were taken at fish markets and an oyster farm in Shandong province on the eastern coast of China, known for its fresh seafood and friendliness, and the closest part of China to Korea. In Shandong, crates of abalone, shellfish, and sea cucumber are the most distinguished gifts that a person can give or receive and families.