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105 Fish Farms

    "Xiao Xian, the bids will start in two days. Do you have a location in mind?"

    After some leisurely chatting, Hong Chenghai broached the main topic.

    "I haven't decided." Chu Xian thought for a moment then replied.

    There were some forty or fifty fish farms in the whole sea region near Hai Qing, with some bigger and some smaller. There were many factors that went into making a decision, and Chu Xian didn't really know much about the different farms.

    "En. There's no rush. You take these two days to look at the fish farms," Hong Chenghai said. "As long as you find one you like, we can get it for you, but your bid can't be that much lower than the other bids. We've already talked to the different departments, so any fish farm in Hai Qing City is yours if you want it!"

    "En." Chu Xian smiled. "I will take a look."

    "You should take these two days to get the licenses. You need more and more requirements these days to farm fish," Hong Chenghai reminded Chu Xian.

    "Alright." Chu Xian nodded.

    With Hong Chenghai's help, Chu Xian got all the required documents that afternoon.

    That night, Chu Xian talked to Xiao Ying on the phone for an hour and told her he returned to China and was preparing to rent a fish farm.

    The next morning, Chu Xian drove to the fish farms near Hai Qing.

    Hai Qing was next to the Yellow Sea, and the plummeting population of fish in public fishing areas resulted in the growth of private fish farms. Chu Xian looked around with a marked fish farm map that Hong Chenghai gave him.

    There were actually far more than forty or fifty fish farms in the Hai Qing area. There were over a hundred, but many of them belonged to different villages and towns and were an integral part of the economy of those areas, so they weren't open for bids.

    The fish farms he was looking at were mostly surrounded by few people or were located far from any village.

    Chu Xian drove to the coast and stopped at one fish farm.

    The nets separated an area of water from the sea. The fish farm wasn't deep, and there were lines of fish cages by it. There were more than ten fishing boats in the area, and the whole area was quite large, taking up thousands of square meters. There were many lobsters, oysters, and other seafood.

    By the coast were a couple of houses and a group of fishermen drying fish on the beach. In the distance were fishing ships on the horizon with seagulls flying in the sky and the sun shining brightly over the waves.

    Chu Xian took in the view and he suddenly felt that this life was very liberating. Maybe when he was older, he could buy a small island and build some houses on it, fishing in the sea during the day and lying on the beach, enjoying the breeze at night... or maybe not. Humans were social animals after all, and although this lifestyle was very relaxing, it could be unbearable in the long term.

    Chu Xian walked along the edge of the fish farm. The drying fish on the beach were mostly small yellow croakers and hairtail, two species of fish that were very common in the Yellow Sea.

    "Ma'am, what kind of fish does this fish farm cultivate?" Chu Xian walked over and asked one of the ladies who was working.

    The woman lifted her head and looked at Chu Xian. "Crabs, jellyfish, lobsters, oysters and so on. The water is shallow here, so we can only farm these things, but we can get a decent amount and we only have to feed them some seaweed."

    "Xiuwen, stop jabbering. Hurry up and finish. You'll be busy when the ships from Nan Shan arrive!" an old man called out from the side.

    "En, en. They've been out to sea for more than a week. Apparently, they caught a lot this time!" Xiuwen smiled and returned to her work on the fish.

    Chu Xian smiled at the old woman and looked at the fish farm. He noticed seven or eight ships approaching from the distance.

    The ships weren't very large and were just small, simple ships. These ships were bare bones and it would be very dangerous for the crew during storms, but if they didn't go out too far, there wouldn't be any major problems.

    Some ten minutes later, the ships approached the coast and the women and elderly people working on the beach gathered around.

    "How's the haul? Did you catch anything good?" a woman shouted.

    "You want to get something good on these ratty ships? Don't even think about it, but we got a lot of seafood this time. Filled to the brim!" a man shouted in reply.

    "Haha, good, good!"

    Chu Xian walked over and looked around with curiosity. The ships were filled with many fish, but they were mostly hairtails, small yellow croakers, and tuna. Most of the fish were dead, but it was very difficult for small ships like these to keep anything they caught alive.

    Even then, there were three or four tons of fish on each ship with even more on the two bigger ones.

    "This time, I think we'll make eighty to ninety thousand RMB!" One of them said happily, putting the fish into basins on the beach.

    "There's an albacore. Haha, it's too bad it isn't a bluefin tuna, but it's worth eight to nine hundred RMB." A man laughed, holding a seven to eight catty albacore.

    "Oh, I didn't know we caught a tuna. This guy swims super fast. They're usually very hard to catch."

    Chu Xian approached the laughing crowd and a middle-aged man wearing a leather jacket turned to him and frowned. "Little brother, what are you doing here?"

    "I came to see the fish farm." Chu Xian smiled and offered the man a cigarette. "You guys caught a lot!"

    "Ay, it's not bad. Compared to the past, it's a lot, but we can't compare to those big ships that make hundreds of thousands or even a million RMB in one trip. Our small ships go out to the sea and each family can get a couple thousand RMB. We can't go out very often either, so if we didn't have the fish farm, we would've starved long ago!" The middle-aged man took the cigarette and lit it while shaking his head.

    "Heh, how's the fish farm?" Chu Xian looked at the fish farm as he asked.

    The middle-aged man looked at him with a pause. "It's so-so. There are ten or so families pooling money together to rent the fish farm, and it feeds us. Excuse me little brother, but I have to work!"

    The middle-aged man didn't want to say much, but Chu Xian didn't mind. After all, people were making bids in a couple days, and it would be stupid to go around spreading all your secrets.

    Chu Xian looked around for a bit before driving to another farm. The farm was similar in a lot of ways, but it was rented by a single person and he wasn't allowed to tour the farm.

    "Fish farms here really aren't as good as the ones in the FT area!" Chu Xian thought while driving. The fish farms on the coast weren't very good and couldn't raise many varieties of fish, although they were good at cultivating shellfish, lobsters, and crabs.

    "Let's take a look at Hongshan Canyon!" Chu Xian thought and drove towards the canyon.

    Hongshan Canyon was another famous region for aquaculture in Hai Qing city, but it was different from the FT area and only farmed seafood.

    After a half-hour drive, Chu Xian parked his car and walked inside.

    Although the place was called a canyon, it wasn't actually one. Only a few hills lined the two sides of a seven or eight-thousand-meter-long and an over ten-meter-wide river heading towards the Yellow River, forming a large aquacultural area.

    There were fifteen fish farms in Hongshan Canyon, and all of them were up for bidding. Compared to those two fish farms on the coast, these farms were larger and had more facilities.

    At the entrance of the fish farm were stairs and stone chairs with guardrails and nets separating everything in an orderly fashion. Ships lined the river, and swimming in the water were many large fish.

    "These fish farms are good!" Chu Xian looked at the farms in the canyon with shining eyes. The whole place was divided into five large areas with the hill on both sides. Although the location wasn't amazing, it also wasn't bad. The water was deep enough, and there weren't too many limitations to cultivating these fish.

    [If I can get one of these fish farms, that'd be nice.] Chu Xian thought to himself when he suddenly heard a loud noise.

    Chu Xian turned to see what the noise was. Down at the bank, some middle-aged men in suits were arguing with fishermen.

    "We came here just to look around! Ah? Do you have a problem with looking?" one of the suited men cried out angrily.

    "Go look at some other place. Don't come to our farm; we don't welcome you!"

    "Who do you think you are? Not letting us check? Who gave you that power?"

    "This farm belongs to us, that's why we have the power. Get out of here! Otherwise, don't blame us for being rude!"

    "You.. you... it's almost time for the bids. We have a right to look now!"

    "Heh. We're still raising fish in this farm. You can go where you want, but if you want to win the bid on our farm, think again. Get out of here!"

    "Let's compete fairly. Whoever offers the higher price wins the bid. Before that happens, we still have the right to come and look around!"

    "Heh, compete fairly? Let me tell you, don't even think about it. We're not afraid of you! Do you have connections? You know someone? As long as we choose to stay here, you better think again!"

    The fisherman yelled arrogantly, and the middle-aged men in suits could only turn around awkwardly and walk away.

    "People always said there were many secret deals for the bidding and I didn't believe it, but it looks like it's true!"

    The middle-aged men approached Chu Xian as one of them spoke angrily.

    "It's hard to win the bid, and unless we're willing to spend a lot of money and make the owner give up, we won't stand a chance."

    The group shook their heads and walked away.
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