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Aquatic production increased slowly after the 1950s, reaching 6.2 million tons in 1985. Output is composed of both marine and freshwater fish, shellfish, and kelp. Marine products contributed 63 percent to total aquatic production. Fishermen collected more than 83 percent of marine output from the open seas. The remaining 17 percent of output came from sea farms along China's coasts.

The freshwater catch accounted for 37 percent of total aquatic output in the mid-1980s. Fish farming in ponds accounted for 80 percent of the total freshwater catch; only 20 percent was collected in natural rivers, lakes, and streams. Fish from all sources provides consumers with an important source of protein and added variety in their diet.

Data as of July 1987