Asian aquaculture: China
The purpose of this blog is to analyse the Asian livestock market. Analysing country by country and sector by sector, we will take a look at different trends of the market, identifying new opportunities that will help you to follow and react to the changes of this industry.
In this first article, we will start analysing the biggest market in Asia: China. Particularly, we will explore the trends of aquaculture sector, one of the fastest growing sectors in the last decades.
China has a long history of aquaculture. However, large-scale production only began after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. More recently, after China opened up to the outside world in the 1980’s, the sector has been growing dramatically, becoming one of the fastest growing sectors among the agriculture industries in China. In 2003 China registered a total amount of 30.28 million tonnes of farmed fish, accounting for 64.34 percent of national fishery production. Per capita supply of fish and fishery products from capture and aquaculture reached 36.2 kg. Exports of farmed shrimp, eel, tilapia, shellfish and seaweed have also formed the backbone of Chinese seafood exports, accounting for about 50 percent of national seafood exports in terms of value. The rapid development of aquaculture in China has not only contributed to improved food supply, but has also generated employment and income to the Chinese people. About 4.3 million rural workers are directly employed in aquaculture with an annual per capita net income of 8 667 Yuan.
Aquaculture production increased from 9.57 million tonnes in 1993 to 30.28 million tonnes in 2003. A proactive policy by the government on aquaculture development as well as the liberalization of fish production and trade are the major reasons behind the fast growth of the industry. Meanwhile, scientific advancements and technological innovations lay down the foundations for massive aquaculture production in China. A well-established education and extension system facilitates the transfer of technologies developed into practices for rural farmers. However, the rapid expansion of the aquaculture industry also brings with it problems such as pollution, outbreaks of disease, genetic deteriorations and seasonal oversupply etc. Aquaculture has been threatened by agricultural and industrial effluent, as well as the tourist industry. Fish safety and anti-dumping issues are now posing new threats to the Chinese aquaculture industry. To cope with some of these problems, the government has already taken action by improving the regulatory and legal framework such as the revised Fisheries Law in 2000 and has issued related rules and regulations including the Aqua Seeds Management Directive in 2001 and the Aquaculture Regulation on Quality and Safety Management in 2002. The aim of this legislation is to strengthen and guide aquaculture production in a more sustainable, responsible and healthy way. At the end of 2002 the Government also launched the “Non Human Hazards Agriculture (including aquaculture) Production Action Plan.” About 100 production criteria have been developed for fish farmers to follow.
With marine capture fisheries in decline (already in negative growth), aquaculture holds much promise for future fisheries development. With continued proactive government policies, adequate advanced planning, scientific designed production technologies and sound management, aquaculture in China can be stable, sustainable, equitable and profitable.