Korean aquaculture industry projects to boost high-tech farming systems

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The Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) is developing a variety of policies to build up high-tech and scaled-up foundations for smart aquaculture technology. This article introduces and summarizes government and commercial project activities related to high-tech aquaculture in Korea since 2014.


Project Title

Target Species/ Project Area

Project Budget (draft)

Government Projects

Smart Aquaculture Cluster Project


Total budget: 40 billion KRW (40 million USD)

▲ Test-bed: 30 billion KRW (30 million USD)

▲ Developing main cluster businesses in local area based on test-bed results: 10 billion KRW (10 million USD)


Shrimp,Sea cucumber/Shinan



Smart Fresh-water Farm Demonstration Complex

Catfish, etc/Hwasun

7 billion KRW (7 million USD)


7 billion KRW (7 million USD)

Smart Sea-cage Demonstration Complex

Redlip mullet/ Hadong

3 billion KRW (3 million USD)

Developing Eco-Friendly Aquaculture

Shrimp/ Namhae

3.7 billion KRW (3.7 million USD)


10 billion KRW (10 million USD)

Aquafarm 4.0

Government departments are cooperating on preliminary feasibility studies since 2019

Draft budget  and planning are in progress

Aquaculture specialist human resource development

Chonnam National Univ. Smart  Aquaculture Research Center

9.9 billion KRW (9.9 million USD)

Commercial  Project

Sustainable Land-based Salmon Farm Complex

Salmon  /Yangyang (Managed by  Dongwon Industries)

200 billion KRW (200 million USD)

Table 1. The main government and commercial projects for high-tech aquaculture. 1 USD = 1,000 KRW

Government projects

Aquafarm 4.0

Three Korean government departments (MOF, Ministry of Science, and ICT & Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy) are cooperating on preliminary feasibility studies of Aquafarm 4.0’s potential as a government research and development (R&D) project. The goal of the Aquafarm 4.0 project is implementation of artificial intelligence through all stages of the aquaculture production cycle. Implementation will be phased in beginning with digitalization, proceeding to smartification, and then artificial intelligence. The mission of this project is to improve the aquaculture business ecosystem economically, conveniently and sustainably for the whole value chain (production to consumption).

Currently re-evaluation of the total plan is in progress with planning of the revised budget and project range as a priority.

Smart Aquaculture Cluster Project

Busan smart aquaculture cluster Source: Busan City Press Release
Goseong smart aquaculture cluster Source: Goseong-gun Press Release









The Smart Aquaculture Cluster Project is planned by MOF with the goal of building up production test-beds and developing main cluster business in the local area, by implementing automation and artificial intelligence based on test-bed results.

Recently, a total of 5 local projects (Busan, Goseong, Shinan, Pohang & Gangwon-do) were confirmed as test-beds. In particular, Busan city and GS Engineering & Construction (GS E&C) have an agreement to cooperate with the smart aquaculture cluster project, starting July 2020.

Smart Sea-cage Demonstration Complex

The Smart Sea-cage Demonstration Complex was established with an automatic feeding system, farm environmental monitoring system, and growth measurement system at 10 farms in Hadong-gun in 2020.

Developing Eco-Friendly Aquaculture

Shrimp closed system – Chowon Environment Co., Ltd.

Chowon Environment Company, which was selected as “2020 Developing Eco-Friendly Aquaculture Project”, is constructing a land-based marine shrimp farm in Namhae-gun with a budget of 3.7 billion KRW(3.7 million USD). 

Shrimp RAS farming – Gyeonggi-nambu Suhyup(Fisheries Cooperatives)

Hwaseong in Gyeonggi-do, which was selected as “2020 Developing Eco-Friendly Aquaculture Project”, will carry out the ‘Shrimp land-based RAS project [Vannmei sp.]’ with a government-supported budget of 10 billion KRW(10 million USD) from 2021 to 2022.

Commercial projects

Salmon RAS farming plan-Dongwon Industries

A revision of the law allowing major companies to participate in aquaculture, named the ‘Aquaculture Industry Development Act’ was enacted in August of last year. Consequently, major companies (GS E&C, Dongwon Industries, etc.) have joined or are very interested in entering the aquaculture industry. It is expected that the entrance by major companies with strong capital will rapidly accelerate the development of smart aquaculture technology.

Dongwon sustainable land-based salmon farm complex Source: Dongwon group Press Release

On  September 1 2020, Dongwon Industries held a ceremony to celebrate the investment agreement with Yangyang-gun and Gangwon-do for the project to establish the ‘Sustainable Land-based Salmon Farm Complex at Yangyang-gun’. The target production is 20,000 tonnes of salmon/year and Dongwon will invest 200 billion KRW(200 million USD) for a land-based salmon farming complex from 2020 to 2023.

In addition, Dongwon Industries invested in ‘Norway’s Salmon Evolution’ in July 2020 and intends to adopt the technology provided by this company to establish the ‘Sustainable Land-based Salmon Farm Complex at Yangyang-gun’.

The article was written by Myunghee Kim, AquaInfo Co., Ltd. and  translated by Patrick J. Ryu, AquaInfo Co., Ltd.


Busan City Press Release, 16, Dec 2020; Dongwon group Press Release, 31, Aug 2020; Goseong-gun Press Release, 23, Aug 2019; MOF official Blog for Marine & fisheries policy, 27, Sep 2019; MOF official Blog for specialist pick, 7, Feb 2020; National Assembly Research Service (NARS) situation analysis etc, 19, Dec 2019

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