China moving from quantity to quality
China ranks first in farmed fish output thus its efforts toward aquaculture sustainability can be seen as good news for consumers around the world.
China has produced more farmed fish than the rest of the world combined since 1991. But “in recent years China aquaculture aimed for production increase to satisfy the market demand, and didn’t pay much attention on aquaculture regulating and governance, water-resources saving and environment protection,” acknowledged Dr Xinhua Yuan, a senior aquaculture officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The country’s strategies to improve efficiency and sustainability in the sector could mean a large reduction in growth for its aquaculture industry but also enhanced seafood quality for consumers.
The policy changes, laid out in its Five-Year Plan (2016 - 2020), “will enhance consumer confidence on aquaculture products from China, as more and more fish will be produced in ecological and environment friendly models,” Dr Yuan tells Aquaculture North America (ANA).
“Green” farmed fish will be offered at higher prices because of the higher costs of producing them, but “consumers are willing to pay the increased prices, because the awareness on ecological and environmental issues is improving worldwide,” he says.
While these efforts could significantly curtail the growth of China’s aquaculture industry, Dr Yuan believes these will not challenge the general fish supply in domestic and international markets. “China has huge fish production, and the adoption of new policy on greener aquaculture and new technology are carried out step by step,” he says.