Top Picks For You
China Travel Guide

Moody Photos of China’s Most Beautiful Coastline and the Sea Farmers Who Tend It

All Photos Courtesy Of Sugato Mukherjee

Often dubbed the most beautiful coastline of China, Xiapu also has an extensive network of small rivers flowing into the sea, and the riverbanks have been utilized by the thriving aquaculture industry of the region. 

The unique marine culture in Xiapu in the Fujian province of China has been thriving for centuries. Seaweed farms form a major part of their aquaculture, while tidal fishing, kelp harvesting, oyster farms, and the production of sea cucumbers and yellow croakers are also key to the economy.

This setting has inspired generations of Chinese impressionistic wash painters with the surreal estuarine landscape of tidal mudflats.

Xiapu is located in the northeast section of China’s Fujian province. A region along the southeastern Chinese coast, Xiapu has the largest mudflat in the country, encompassing 40 square kilometers and more than 400 kilometers of coastline.

The largest mudflat in China defines the coastal wetlands, also known as tidal flats, where is built through the deposition of silt and mud between high tide and low tide, forming exquisite patterns. Fisherfolk work on these flats from early morning till late evening.

Continue Reading Article After Our Video

Recommended Fodor’s Video

01
02

Fisherfolk return home after a day’s work in the tidal mudflats. From October to December, it’s harvest time for laver–a rich reddish-brown, edible seaweed.

The bamboo poles, fishnets, and stone columns that are inserted in the mudflats often extend out to the sea and are used to dry kelp, laver, oyster, and other marine products.

Often dubbed the most beautiful coastline of China, Xiapu also has an extensive network of small rivers flowing into the sea, and the riverbanks have been utilized by the thriving aquaculture industry of the region.

11
06

The fishing community often lives in floating villages or on boats year-round, a lifestyle dating back to the Tang dynasty. The water here is covered by a patchwork of hundreds of floating platforms where sea gypsies live and tend to the underwater farming of sea cucumbers, yellow croakers, seaweed, and other marine produce

I watched as a fisherman hoisted seaweed onto his boat. Seaweed harvesting is a labor-intensive process that takes place on family-run farms. A shift to aquaculture happened in the watery world of Fujian when, in the early 1980s, there was a drop in the fish harvest from the seawaters.

Oyster farming is another important part of the marine culture in Xiapu. Small, cupped monk-hat oysters are found in abundance in the waters around Fujian, and local eateries display the day’s fresh catch. Apart from many varieties of prawns, lobsters, and crabs, the harvest includes exotic edibles like snails, eels, and clams.

09
10

Fisherfolk use colorful hand nets during high tide when seawater flows inland. The fishing work is operated by both men and women.

During low tide, when seawater starts ebbing away, imprints of fantastic shapes and patterns are left behind. The beautiful waterscape has inspired generations of Chinese ink and wash painters to create one of the oldest surviving traditional art forms of the world: Chinese wash painting.

0 Comments