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Part I Overview and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

Part II Narrative (2017)

  1. Production sector
    • Marine sub-sector
      • Catch profile
      • Landing sites
      • Fishing practices/systems
      • Main resources
      • Management applied to main fisheries
      • Fishing communities
    • Inland sub-sector
      • Catch profile
      • Landing sites
      • Fishing practices/systems
      • Main resources
      • Management applied to main fisheries
    • Aquaculture sub-sector - NASO
    • Recreational sub-sector
  2. Post-harvest sector
    • Fish utilization
    • Fish markets
  3. Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sector
    • Role of fisheries in the national economy
    • Trade
    • Food security
    • Employment
    • Rural development
  4. Trends, issues and development
    • Constraints and opportunities
    • Government and non-government sector policies and development strategies
    • Research, education and training
      • Research
      • Education and training
    • Foreign aid
  5. Institutional framework
  6. Legal framework
    • Regional and international legal framework
  7. References

Additional information

  1. FAO Thematic data bases
  2. Publications
  3. Meetings & News archive

Part I Overview and main indicators

Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

Country briefPrepared: 12-2017

China has been the world’s top fish producer for many years. In 2015, China (mainland only) produced 65.2 million tonnes of food fish, with 47.6 million tonnes (73 percent) from aquaculture and 17.6 million tonnes (27 percent) from capture. Chinese aquaculture enjoyed double-digit growth rates in the 1980s and 1990s, but in the new millenium (2001–2015) the average annual growth was relaxed to 5.4 percent, lower than that of the rest of Asia. Chinese aquaculture is much more diverse than all other countries in terms of farmed species (over 200) and farming systems/methods. Chinese fish farmers contributed 62 percent to the world’s farmed food fish production in 2015. China harvested 13.9 million tonnes of seaweeds from aquaculture in 2015.

Since 2007, when catch data were substantially revised on the basis of the Second National Agriculture Census, total capture production has been growing at an annual average rate of 2 percent thanks to increased marine catches which reached 15.3 million tonnes in 2015, whereas inland water catches have remained mostly stable around 2.3 million tonnes per year. Catches reported for Chinese vessels operating in distant waters (areas outside fishing area “61-Northwest Pacific”) grew significantly reaching almost 1 million tonnes in 2015, but it is thought that catch data by distant fleets may still be underreported.

In 2015, there were about 370 000 non-powered fishing vessels and another 672 000 were motor-powered. China implemented a fishing fleet reduction plan and a substantial marine fleet reduction was achieved by 2008 but that the fleet size has been on the rise since then.

The fishery sector provided jobs for over 14 million people in 2015 in all sectors. More than half of the employment was full–time. Aquaculture accounted for 5.1 million jobs. The sector also provides jobs in associated services, e.g. in the input supply, processing and marketing chains and this was reported as a further 15.9 million people in 2015.

Since 2002, China is the world’s largest exporter of fish and fishery products, with exports reaching USD 19.7 billion in 2015. In the last few years, China has significantly increased its imports of fish and fishery products, and became the world’s third largest fish importer since 2012, with imports worth USD 8.5 billion in 2014. FAO methodology estimated an apparent per caput consumption of about 37.9 kg/year in 2013, up from 31.9 kg in 2009.

China became Party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1996 and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement in 2000 with a statement expressing the understanding of the Chinese Government with respect to specific provisions of the Agreement concerning the inspection of vessels. China is a founding member of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific (NACA).

General geographic and economic indicators

Shelf area

1 028 908 km2

Sear Around Us Project: www.seaaroundus.org/data/#/eez
Length of continental coastline 18 000 km The Report of China Marine Development, 2011.
Fisheries GDP 1200.2 billion RMB about USD 187.5 billion 2017 CHINA Fisheries Statistical Yearbook

Key statistics

Country area9 600 001.3km2FAOSTAT. May include official, semi-official or estimated data, 2013
Land area9 424 701.3km2FAOSTAT. May include official, semi-official or estimated data, 2013
Inland water area175 300km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
Population - Est. & Proj.1413.479millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area965 049km2VLIZ

Source: FAO Country Profile

FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

      1980 1990 2000 2010 2013 2014 2015
EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 4175.024 11173.463 12935.689 13992.142 14430.576 15030.522 14587.632
  Aquaculture 1740.999 3722.349 4978.969 5191.739 5124.211 5103.175
  Capture 4175.024 9432.464 9213.34 9013.173 9238.837 9906.311 9484.457
    Inland 5903.336 5761.665 6344.593
    Marine 4175.024 9432.464 9213.34 3109.837 3477.172 3561.718 9484.457
FLEET(thousands vessels) 974.873 1065.645 1071.664 1065.319 1042.489
Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


Updated 2017Part II Narrative

Part II of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile provides supplementary information that is based on national and other sources and that is valid at the time of compilation (see update year above). References to these sources are provided as far as possible.

Production sector

Overall, Chinese fisheries have experienced a rapid development since the late 1970s. The total fishery production has increased to over 66 million tonnes in 2015 from the 4.4 million tonnes in 1980. During the past two decades, especially during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), the fishery industry has undergone rapid development.

Recreational fisheries have become a new highlight in fisheries development. The Chinese Government has dedicated efforts to the recreational fisheries development through the establishment of new national pilot sites. These are equipped with innovative technology and management, and are set to become models for other regions. By the end of 2014, 396 pilot sites have been established to explore and demonstrate how recreational fisheries could benefit the society. By the end of the 12th five-year plan in 2016, China plans to establish 500 pilot sites.

Mariculture facilities have been developed rapidly. The area dedicated to mariculture in 2014 was 25.65 million square meters, which has doubled that of 2011. The use of common marine net-cage culture grew slowly after 2012, while the deep water net-cage culture is growing quickly. In 2014, deep sea aquaculture took up a total area of 6.06 million square meters, more than 20% at the end of the period of 11th five-year plan(2006-2011).

Since 2011 the number of professional fish farmers has been declining, from 5.29 million professional fish farmers to 5.12 million in 2014. On the other hand, mariculture fish farmers have increased.

Marine sub-sectorCatch profile

The marine fisheries sector is an important component of China’s fishing industry. In 2014, the production amounted to 32.96 million tonnes of which capture fisheries contributed 12.8 million tonnes and marine culture 18.12 million tonnes. The Fisheries Bureau hopes that unemployed fishermen will turn to aquaculture or the processing sector. As it stands, however, fishermen often make more money at sea. Many food processing jobs are being taken by rural laborers from China’s inland provinces, as they get lower wages than the coastal workers. Therefore, there has not been significant interest for many fisherman and/or boat owners to sell their vessels and seek employment in the aquaculture or processing sectors.
Landing sites

There are dozens of national and provincial landing sites. The following are key fishing grounds along the coast:-Bohai fishery zone;-Yellow Sea fishery zone, including the northern, central and southern parts;-East China Sea fishery zone, including coastal, inshore, offshore and Taiwanese waters; -South China Sea fishery zone, including the coastal, inshore, offshore waters, Beibu Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin), the Dongsha Islands (Pratas Islands), the Xisha Islands (Paracel Islands), the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands) and the deep waters of the South China Sea continental shelf slope.
Fishing practices/systems

In 2014, there were 277,453 mechanized marine fishing vessels with a total power of 16.96 million kW. Among them, 263,924 were fishery operational vessels and the rest were support vessels transferring goods and providing essential services. Compared to 2013, the number of operational vessels decreased by 4729, while the total power has increased by 483 thousand kW (MOABOF, 2014; MOABOF, 2015).

There are over 3,000 marine species recorded in the Chinese waters, among which 150 are commercially important. Over 100 species are targeted by commercial fishing, including the hairtail, chub mackerel, Pacific herring, Spanish mackerel, Mackerel Scad (Decapterus maruadsi), Chinese herring, sea eel, large yellow croaker, small yellow croaker, porgy, silvery pomfret, mullet, flukes, flounder, cuttlefish, squid, octopus, abalone, Chinese shrimp, Northern Acetes chinensis, swimming crab, mud crab, sea cucumber, jellyfish, etc.

The most common fishing gear used in 2014 was the trawl net, which accounts for 47.7% of catches by weight, followed by gill nets (22.4%), stow nets (12.5%), purse seines 7.9%, lines and hooks 3.0 %, and all other fishing gears took up the rest 6.5% (MOABOF, 2015).
Main resources

Among the four territory seas and their surrounding waters, the most productive region is the East China Sea, followed by the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea.

The species captured have undergone significant changes. The catch of traditional high value marine species has been unstable or, in some cases, in decline. Among the four traditionally commercially important species, i.e. the large yellow croaker (Pseudosiaena crocea), the yellow croaker (Larimichthys polyactis), the largehead hairtail (Trichiurus haumela) and the spineless cuttlefish (Sepiella sp.), only the hairtail catches remain high. Conversely, the total volume of pelagic fish and crustaceans has increased. In both the East China Sea and Yellow Sea, the more valuable long-lived demersal and predatory pelagic species have been replaced by lower value species, primarily smaller pelagics, such as chub mackerel (Pneumatophorus japonicus), black scraper (Navodon modestus), and anchovy (Engraulis spp).
Management applied to main fisheries

China has been implementing a summer closure in the East China Sea, the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea since 1995, and in the South China Sea since 1999 to recover the declining coastal fishery resources. The fishery authorities have strengthened their management and inspection resources. In August 1997, with the approval of the State Council, the Ministry of Agriculture released the Regulation on Control of Marine Fishing Efforts during the Ninth-Five Year Plan (2000-2005). Organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, the coastal administrations re-issued all fishing licenses, which helped establish a new marine fishing production system and ensure fishery resources become stable and sustainable as well as help to raise fishermen’s awareness of the importance of resource protection.

Conducting the Summer Fishing Moratorium Early in the Xia Dynasty (2100 to 1800 BC), China adopted the idea of having a fishing ban during the three months in summer, in order to protect and rationally utilize its fisheries resources. China piloted a summer fishing ban in the East China Sea in 1978, and then in 1985. China executed the new “Summer Fishing Moratorium”, which called for fishing nets to be deployed far from rivers to aid the recovery of fish and turtles throughout the country. The system has been gradually revised and completed.

Gear RegulationThe Code of Aquatic Resources Reproduction Protection P. R. China and the Law of Fisheries prohibit fishing with destructive fishing gears and methods, including electrified and magnetic nets. The law also requires the administrations to set the minimum mesh size of fishing nets and regulate the number of fishing gears.

Fishery Resources Protection Fees Starting in the early 1980s, the Chinese Government has gradually charged fisherman for a ‘fishery resources protection fee’. The fisheries administrations are allowed to collect the fishery resources protection fees from the fishermen that benefit from the fishing operations in the region and the fund raised shall be used to conserve and enhance the fish stocks in the waters under their jurisdictions.

Conservation of Seedlings ResourcesThe Ministry of Agriculture began to establish National aquatic germplasm resource reserve in 2007. During 2011-2015, the MOA established 272 National aquatic germplasm resource reserve, and by the end of 2015, there were 492 these conservation areas, including 50 marine and 442 inland. These conservation areas are found in rivers, lakes, gulfs, reef water tidal flats; and are gradually formalizing an aquatic seedlings resources network.

Artificial Reefs and Sea Ranching Stock enhancement is an effective way to restore the ecosystem and the fisheries resources. In recent years, the Chinese government issued a series of policies, including the “Regulation of Wild Aquatic Animal Protection” and “The Notice of promoting stock enhancement for fisheries resources” and began to standardize stock enhancement practices. From the 1980s to 1992, 24.8 billion pieces of shrimp larvae were released; from 1999 to 2001, 3.5 billionseedlings were released; in 2005 alone, 88.2 billion pieces of fish seedlings were released. More than 3000 Chinese Sturgeon and over 3 million oysters and clams were released during the same period. Three coastal provinces, Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang, with the assistance of the Fisheries Bureau, initiated the artificial reef programs to facilitate the recovery of the marine ecological environment, and to enhance the fisheries resources. An assessment of the impacts of artificial reefs on the marine environment and fisheries resources was conducted through resource and environment surveys along the southern coast in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Positive results indicate the function of artificial reefs in rebuilding marine habitats to recover fishery resources.

Chinese government has been accelerating the establishment of aquatic nature reserves. From 2011 to 2014, 8 new national nature reserves for aquatic resources were established, bringing the total number of national level aquatic nature reserves to 23. There are more than 200 nature reserves with a total area of more than 10km2. They effectively protect coral reefs, sea turtles, the Chinese white dolphin and other rare and endangered aquatic species and their habitats, the aquatic ecological environment, biodiversity and water resources.Management objectives

Management measures and institutional arrangements

The main measures of marine fishery resource management consist of a) monitoring and protecting the marine environment; b) strengthening the fishing permission system and manage the fishing intensity; c.) to implement the summer closures; d.) to enhance the gear regulations ; and e.) to carry out ecological restoration, and the proliferation of fishery resources The Ministry of Agriculture utilizes the state-wide fishery ecological environment monitoring stations under the China Fisheries Academy to monitor the ecological environment of the 120 important fisheries areas, including in coastal areas and the Yangtze River basins, and 43 aquatic seedling resource reserves. They also issue the “Annual Chinese Fishery Ecological Environment Bulletin”. The State Oceanic Administration and the Ocean and Fishery authorities at local levels are responsible for the marine functional zoning.
Fishing communities

The China Fisheries Association is a non-governmental organization which bridges the government and the fishing industry. The China Distant-water Fisheries Association and the China Federation of Eel Industry are the two branches of the China Fisheries Association.

Under the China Fisheries Association, there are provincial level and city level fisheries associations. Most of the local level associations are administered by local fisheries bureaus, and closely work with local fisheries research institutes.

There are also 4 national level associations, such as the China Fishery Ship owners’ Mutual Insurance Association, the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Association, the China Fishing Vessel and Fisheries Machinery Association, and the China Seaweed Industry Association.
Inland sub-sector

Catch profile

More than 700 species of freshwater fish and 60 species of marine freshwater migratory fish are found in the inland waters. The major commercial species are silver carp, bighead carp, grass carp, black carp, common carp, crucian carp, Chinese breams, catfish, snakehead, mud carp, eel, pond smelt, salmon, trout, mullet, bass, Japanese lamprey, Chinese mitten-handed crab, soft-shell turtle.

To protect the natural fisheries resources, the Chinese Government started regulating the fishing activities in the 1980s. The inland capture fishery production has stabilized at approximately 2.28 million tonnes since 1999, including 1.67 million tonnes of finfish, 0.33 million tonnes of crustaceans, 0.26 million tonnes of shellfish, and 256 tonnes of seaweed. The five provinces, Anhui, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hubei and Guangxi, are the most important producers in inland capture.
Landing sites

The top 10 most famous marine fishing ports are the Shenjiamen Fishing Center Port in Zhejiang Province, Shipu Fishing Center Port in Zhejiang Province , Lvsi Fishing Center Port in Jiangsu Province, Lock-slope Fishing Center Port in Guangdong Province, Jieshi Fishing Center Port in Guangdong Province, Bohe Fishing Center Port in Guangdong Province, Sansha Fishing Center Port in Fujian Province, Shacheng Fishing Center Port in Fujian Province and Shidao Fishing Center Port in Shandong Province. Those fishing ports are mainly located in the main fishery production areas, including Dalian Marine Island Fishing Port, Haiyanghong Fishing Center Port in Donggan City, Bohai Sea Fishing Center Port in Tianjin.
Fishing practices/systems

China fishing practices must comply with the Fishing license management regulations, which were released on August 23, 2002(No. 19 Decree of MOA China), and effective as of December 1, 2002. Revisions were released on July 1, 2004 (No.38 Decree of MOA China), and on November 8, 2007 (No.38 Decree of MOA China).
Main resources

The inland waters in China cover a total area of 176 thousand km2, about 17.6 million ha between rivers, lakes, ponds and reservoirs. The rivers account for 39% of the total area and the lakes contribute to 42.2%. The most famous rivers are the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Lujiang River, Lancangjiang River, Yarlung Zangbo River, Heilongjiang River, Liaohe River, Haihe River, Huaihe River, Xijiang River, Tumenjiang River, Yalujiang River, Qiantangjiang River, Minjiang River and Oujiang River. The most famous freshwater lakes are Boyanghu Lake, Dongtinghu Lake, Taihu Lake, Hulunci Lake, Hongzehu Lake, Chaohu Lake, Weishanhu Lake, and salty lakes are Qinghaihu Lake, Namujiehu Lake, Zhalinghu Lake and Bositenghu Lake. China has about 830 thousand reservoirs with area of about 2 million hectors and total volume of 450 billion m3. Fishponds in China cover 1.27 million hectors. About 59% are in the east and most of them are located in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Management applied to main fisheries

Controlling the fishing effortsSince 1987, China has adopted two policies which have reduced the number and the horsepower of fishing vessels. Marine fishing vessels decreased from 225,000 at their peak in 2003 to 189,500 at the end of 2014, accomplishing the control tasks aimed at fishing efforts of the 12th Five-year Plan.

The fishing license systemIn 1979, China issued the “Code of Aquatic Resources Reproduction Protection ”, which provides the fishing license system. In 1986, the Law of fisheries wrote the system into law. The number of fishing vessels were cut down and the fishermen were relocated for other jobs. Most of the retired fishing vessels have been destroyed, some of them changed into aquaculture support boats, some into artificial reef.

Protecting wild aquatic animalsTo reserve aquatic germplasm resources, fishing is banned except permitted by Ministry of Agriculture. In 2015, there are 459 national aquatic germplasm resources reserves were established in China, including 405 inland reserves and 54 marine reserves. In 2015, there are about 26 national aquatic natural reserves in China, while there are 13 national marine natural reserves playing important roles in conserving marine living resources. They protect the coral reefs, sea turtles, the Chinese white dolphins and other rare and endangered aquatic wild animals and plants and their habitats, protecting the ecological environment and biological diversity. All of these make positive contributions to the ecological balance. Now, aquatic nature conservation has become an important part of China's ecological protection system.The following objectives have been reached in recent years:a.) conservation of the Chinese white-dolphin;b.) stock enhancement of rare aquatic animals, such as the Chinese mullet and the Chinese Sturgeon;c.) direct action, such as the release and rescue of sea turtles, injured white sturgeon, and Chinese white dolphins.

Aquaculture sub-sector

Pond culture is the most important type of inland aquaculture. Most pond culture activities are distributed along the Yangtze River basins and the Pearl River basins in the 7 provinces: Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui, Jiangxi and Shandong. Inland aquaculture production accounts for 60 % of the country’s total aquaculture output in 2014. In the areas with under-developed aquaculture, primarily in the north, northeast and northwest regions, such as Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Ganshu, Ningxia and Xinjiang, the contribution to national inland aquaculture was 2.8% in 2014. The inland aquaculture sector is also important from a nutritional perspective, as it provides fish for regions where consumption of seafood is traditionally low.

Apart from pond fish culture, open-water fish farming contributes most of the remaining production. Chinese fish farmers who operate the intensive cultures in pond systems are also employing similar modes in the reservoirs, lakes, rivers and channels, with cages, nets and pens.

Paddy fish farming, in recent years, has grown from the small-scale production into an important commercial activity. It has received increasing attention as there is a huge potential for growth with more than 28 million hectors of paddy fields available.The most commonly farmed species are black carp, grass carp, silver carp, bighead carp, common carp, crucian carp, Chinese bream, blunt-snout bream, silver chub, mandarin fish, fresh-water shrimp, fresh-water mussel, river-snail, soft-shelled turtle and river crab. With the economy developing and living standards improving, the domestic demands for high-value species increases. For example, foreign species introduced from abroad are popular (tilapia, rainbow trout, paddle-fish, roach, river perch, toad catfish, red bellied pacu). Experiments are also being carried out to introduce silver salmon. However, the share of high-valued species is still low in comparison with the traditionally farmed species.

Marine aquaculture in China is mostly operated in shallow waters, shoals and bays. Cultured species cover fish, shellfish, mollusks, sea weed, including shrimp, oyster, mussel, scallop, clam, blood clam, razor clam, abalone, red porgy, black porgy, Tilapia, grouper, crab, kelp and laver. Aquaculture modes used include floating raft culture, semi-floating raft culture, net cage culture, sea ground sowing, vertical culture, stone adhesion culture and pond culture. The seedlings for aquaculture are obtained from artificial breeding, semi-artificial breeding and natural breeding.

Marine aquaculture has grown rapidly over the last two decades. The cultured species have also varied greatly. Since the 1980s, the government has been giving full support to multi-variety marine cultivation, ranging from fish and shrimp to other valuable species, including Penaeus chinensis, mussel, scallop, abalone, sea bream, Tilapia, grouper, Scylla serrata. As a result, the share in total production of fish, shrimp and other valuable species has risen.
Recreational sub-sector

In recent years, Chinese recreational fisheries and the aquarium fish culture industry have shown a strong upward trend. The development of recreational fisheries and the aquarium fish culture industry are playing increasingly important roles in providing employment opportunities for fishermen, boosting the social consumption and increasing fishermen’s income.

In coastal areas, to protect fisheries resources, the number of fishing vessels were reduced by law, and some fishermen had to relocate to other industries.

With the improvement of people’s living standards, more and more people are engaging in aquarium fish culture. The aquarium fish culture industry also has become a new growth point for foreign trade. Particular importance is given to the gold fish, which has been raised in China for over 2,000 years, and which is the main species cultivated both nationally and for exporting. One of the main aquarium culture centers is Beijing, linking with the cities and provinces around Beijing. Other important centers are based along the Southeast coast, mainly in Jiangsu, Guangdong Province and Shanghai city.

With the increase of the aquarium fish production, the aquarium fish export trade developed quickly in China. From 1977 to 1986, the average annual foreign trade value was only about $500,000 USD. In 2014, the foreign trade of aquarium fish valued $ 22 million USD, with $ 13.1 million USD in exports and $ 8.9 million USD in imports (China Seafood Imports Statistics Yearbook).
Post-harvest sectorFish utilization

Fisheries Products Processing IndustryIn the past 60 years, the Chinese aquatic product processing industry turned from small batch production factory processing natural frozen fish and dry products to a big comprehensive processing industry, including artificial freezing and water preservation. By 2014, there were 9,663 active processing enterprises and 8,624 freezer storage facilities. The output of raw and processed products had reached 30.53 million tonnes, up to 30% of the total amount of aquatic products.

In recent years, to comply with the high standards set by international markets, China’s aquatic products processing enterprises have formed a number of modern export-oriented enterprises for aquatic products processing, mainly private enterprises, characterized by advanced technology, standardized specification and due diligence in business operations. These enterprises actively compete in international markets and have become leading enterprises in the aquaculture industry in China.
Fish markets

With increased trade, new modern wholesale markets have become necessary. In order to promote their development, the Ministry of Agriculture, based on market surveys and international experiences, has set standards for national seafood wholesale markets, and implemented the Program on the Development of National Seafood Wholesale Markets. Thirteen specialized seafood wholesale markets were appointed by MOA as Central Seafood Wholesale Markets. These markets are mainly located in the main fishery production areas, namely Weihai in Shandong Province; Shidao in Shandong province; Shanghai; Shengjiamen, Chinanzhou and Ningbo in Zhejiang; Fuzhou in Fujian province; Guangzhou and Jiangmen in Guangdong; Beihai in Guangxi; Nanjing and Qidong in Jiangsu; Dongting in Hunan.

According to the national aquatic product wholesale market price information acquisition system of the Ministry of Agriculture, the aquatic products market has remained stable in recent years. In the comprehensive aquatic products wholesale market, in the first half of 2014, the average price was 22.42 yuan/kg, increased by 3.71% compared to 2013. Among them, the average price of marine products was 41.52 yuan/kg, increased by 4.16%. Freshwater products integrated average price of 15.09 yuan/kg, increased by 3.18%. Data from 47 wholesale markets shows that the volume of aquatic products was 3.595 million tonnes in the first half of 2014, rising by 2.92%. Turnover was 78.704 billion yuan, an increase of 9.29% year-on-year.
Socio-economic contribution of the fishery sectorRole of fisheries in the national economy

The fisheries industry in China experienced a rapid growth and has become an important industry. The industry helps support the agriculture sector and the rural economy, and promotes farmers' income. In 1949, the national fishery production was only 60 million yuan, which was 0.2% of the total production value of agriculture (27.18 billion yuan). By 1978, the fishery production had increased to 2.03 billion yuan, up to 1.4% of the total production value of agriculture. After the reform and opening policies in the late 1970s, fishery production increased rapidly. By 2014, the fishery production was 2085.89 billion yuan, accounting for 12% of agricultural production, a 60 fold increase compared to 1949.

In the first four years of the twelfth five-year plan (2011-2015), the annual production of aquatic products increased by 3.8% in weight, fishery economic output increased by an annual rate of 11%, the added value of fishery economy increased 18.07% per year, aquatic products exports increased 5.7% per year, exports increased 12% per year, the trade surplus increased by an annual rate of 14.5%. Fisheries products have been the largest commodity exported for four consecutive years in China. Pelagic fishery output increased by an annual rate of 11.5%, the processing output value increased by an annual rate of 11.9%, increasing the per capita net income of fishermen by 12.6% and contributing significantly to the development of the economy of rural areas.

China's aquatic products international trade rapidly developed in the mid-1980s. In 1978 China's exports of aquatic products was only valued at $260 million, but by 2014 it had increased to $30.8 billion. In 36 years it has increased by more than 110 times. From 2002, China’s aquatic products exports have ranked the first in the world. Exports of wild capture products have declined while export of farmed products has increased.

According to national statistics, China's total import and export of aquatic products was 8.1415 million tonnes in 2015 in weight, and $29.314 billion USD in value, which showed a 3.59% decrease compared to 2014. Of these, exports weighed 4.0603 million tonnes, with the value of $20.333 billion USD, with a 2.48% and 6.29% decrease respectively. The imports weights value was 4.0813 million tonnes, and $8.982 billion USD, with a decrease of 4.66% and 4.66% respectively. The trade surplus of $11.351 billion fell by $1.161 billion.
Food security

In the past two decades, the aquatic product market supply was enough for the nation-wide public food security program (so-called the Grocery Basket Program); the sufficient seafood supply played an important role in urban and rural development.

As the benefits are relatively higher in the fisheries sector, especially in aquaculture, labor force in the other agricultural sectors is increasingly attracted to the fisheries sector. With the rapid development of aquaculture, the number of fish farmers has increased. In 1956, there were only 1.024 million fisheries operators. By 2007, fisheries operators increased to 13.169 million. In 2014, there were 14.29 million workers, 140,375 workers less than in 2013, as the policy in place to limit fishing effort led fishermen to reallocate to different sectors. Among the fishery operators, fishermen totaled 1.82 million, aquaculture workers 5.12 million, the supporting sector 872,906 workers, the part-time workers 4.85 million, and temporary employees 1.63 million.
Rural development

China’s fishery cooperatives emerged and developed, and were reinforced over time.Between 1948 and 1950, Shandong Province and Liaoning Province have established fishery cooperative groups. Fishers who joint the groups accounted for 11.9% of the households and 7% of the workforce in the fisheries sector. After the Chinese Economic Reform (1978), and particularly since the Farmers' Professional Co-operatives Act was enacted in 2006, China’s fishery cooperatives and various organizations for economic and technical cooperation in fisheries sector have been developing rapidly across the country. These cooperatives and organizations have greatly improved the level of social organization and contributed to mutual support, self-discipline, exchange of information and technologies in the fisheries sector.

Trends, issues and development

Constraints and opportunities

The fisheries sector faces a number of challenges, including:- Poor conditions of basic fishery infrastructures; - Fisheries laws and regulations lack comprehensiveness; - Significant degradation of fishery resources and environmental pollution; - Low levels of quality controls across the value;- Most aquaculture practices are extensive and scattered with weak risk management capacity.

Government and non-government sector policies and development strategies

In 2016 (the first year of the 13th five-year plan), the Chinese government proposed a new set of ideas to innovate and develop the national fishery structure, which in turn would be closely linked to: - reducing the quantity landed while increasing the profit; - promoting the quality while increasing efficiency and sustainability, including:- Quality assurance of the fisheries supply chain; - Protection of aquatic biological resources; - Innovation in fisher science and technology, fishing facilities and equipment, and development on an international level; - Development of fisheries risk management plans and fisheries regulations. In the development strategies of Chinese fisheries, the most important resulted in the 13th Five-year plan for fisheries development, with the aim to strengthen all aspect of the fisheries sector.
Research, education and trainingResearch

China is an important aquaculture producer, the progress in research overcame the key technological difficulties in the breeding and aquaculture of fries, strengthening the selection and breeding, introducing and promoting improved species as well as improving the ability to control aquatic animal diseases. In the 1980s, scientists and researchers in China developed artificial breeding and high-yield aquaculture techniques of the Chinese prawn, and the high-yield aquaculture techniques of European eels. These two species have become important export species. At the end of the 1990s, China focused on the large-scale aquaculture technology for tilapias to meet the demand of fillet processing.

In the last five years, the Chinese Government encouraged science and technology innovation in the key areas of the fisheries industry, which shown great progress. There have been new key technologies applied effectively in resource conservation and ecological restoration, efficient health cultivation, modern seedlings industry, energy conservation, environmental protection, fishery equipment systematic upgrade, such as fish farming in paddy fields, energy saving pilots in aquaculture, emission reduction and comprehensive utilization of aquatic products processing technology. China has developed the agricultural non-point source pollution comprehensive treatment project planning (2014-2018), which covers the technology of ecological breeding engineering to reduce emissions, the technology of the industrial water-circulating farming and the technology of net-cage aquaculture. Steady progress was made in reform of the aquaculture technology popularization system at the grass-roots level, constantly enhancing its capability of public service. In recent years, a fishery information collection and release system has been installed; a national marine fishing management database has been built up, and the fishing management linked; the inland fishing boat "three certificates" has been established as has the management system research and development to carry out the system on its pilot application.

The Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences is the state level aquatic research institution affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture, and under the direction of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Within the academy, there are 12 institutes and 5 bases based in different locations all over the country. These are the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; South China Sea Fisheries Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Heilongjiang River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Fishery Machinery and Instrumental Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Fishery Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Yellow River Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Fish Disease Research Division, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Fishery Comprehensive Information Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; China Certification Center for Quality of Aquatic Products, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Bohai Bay Fishery Enhancement and Scientific Experimental Base, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Beidaihe Central Experiment Station, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Yingkou Enhancement Station, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences; Changdao Enhancement Station, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences and Xiaying Enhancement Station, Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences.

There are also provincial level institutes. They are established by the local government, and are affiliated with the local fisheries bureaus. Most provinces have a fisheries scientific research institute engaging in all aspects of fisheries. Some big fisheries provinces, such as Shandong, Jiangsu, Fujian have two institutes divided by marine fisheries and freshwater fisheries.
Education and training

The Chinese Government is dedicated to fisheries education. A number of universities and colleges focusing on fisheries, such as The China Ocean University (in Qingdao), Shanghai Ocean University, Dalian Ocean University, Fisheries College of Jimei University and Guangdong Ocean University. Every year, there are over 100,000 students who graduate from these universities and become skilled professionals in the fishery industry.

Yearly, since the 1980s, there have been over 300,000 persons trained by the fisheries technology extension department and by fisheries institutes. The training courses help the fisheries workers to increase their comprehension, science and technology quality and innovation ability.

Foreign aid

Institutional framework

Chinese Fisheries Administrations consist of fisheries bureaus, fisheries management and fishing port superintendence bureaus, and fisheries vessel registers.

The highest level of fisheries administration is the Bureau of Fisheries and Fisheries Management, Ministry of Agriculture P. R. China. The main functions of the bureau are: - To develop a national fisheries development strategy and relevant policies; - To draft out the relevant fisheries laws, regulations and codes, then to supervise their enforcement; - To be responsible for fisheries management, to guide the adjustment of the value chain; to develop and implement fisheries scientific research and technology expansion; - To create policies and regulations aimed at increasing the sustainable utilization of fisheries resources, and the overall conservation of the marine and freshwater ecosystems; to enforce fisheries management plans, fishing port superintendence and fishing vessel inspections and licensing; to be responsible for the rights and safety of fishers;- To implement safe and functional processing facilities, develop fish market systems and promote the international fisheries products trade;- To be responsible for the management of fisheries standardization and quality assurance; disease prevention and drug testing and regulated use;- To participate in international fisheries conventions, and multilateral and bilateral fisheries agreements; to overlook international fisheries cooperation; to be responsible for the design, project review, coordination and the management of distant water fisheries;- To develop natural disaster management strategies; - To be responsible for the collection and dissemination of fisheries information and statistics;- To represent the interests of fisheries associations and societies.

Under Bureau of Fisheries and Fisheries Management, Ministry of Agriculture, P. R. China has fisheries bureaus located at the provincial level, which were set up by and under the leadership of the provincial government. On the other hand, fisheries management functions are under the management of the Bureau of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture P. R. China. The fisheries bureaus at provincial level are responsible for the fisheries management of their own province, their main function is almost the same as those mentioned for the Bureau of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture P. R. China.

Register of Fishing Vessel of the People's Republic of China is the main institute responsible for the fisheries vessels’ inspection and safety at sea. Fisheries Technology Extension Institute. China has a completed fisheries technical extension network. The highest center is China National Fishery Technical Extension Center Ministry of Agriculture Beijing China.China Society of Fisheries is a non-government body which founded in 1963, focused on fisheries research under the leadership of both the Ministry of Agriculture and the China Science Association. It is the main center for fisheries science and technology development in China, and represents a link between the Communist party and the Government, with large numbers of fishery scientists and technicians. At present, the China Society of Fisheries has near 20,000 members with capacity of engineer and above, of which 3450 are senior members, 872 are student members and more than 150 unit members. Currently, the Society has four subordinated committees and 17 affiliations. They are Academic Working Committee, Scientific Advisory Committee, Fund Management Committee and Fishery History Committee; Science and Technology Popularization Committee, Aqua-terms approval Committee, Freshwater Aquaculture Sub-committee, Marine Fishing Sub-committee, Fishery Resources and Environment Sub-committee, Fishing Vessel and Fishery Machinery Sub-committee, Aqua-fishing Sub-committee, Fish Processing and Comprehensive Utilization Sub-committee, Aquarium Fish Sub-committee, Fish Diseases Specialized Committee, Fishery Refrigeration Specialized Committee, Fishery Engineering Specialized Committee, Fishery Information Specialized Committee, Fish Nutrition and Feed Specialized Committee, Salmon Specialized Committee. The China Society of Fisheries publishes a number of journals, such as the “Journal of Fisheries of China”, “Marine Fisheries” and “Scientific Fish Farming”. The Society also publishes seminar proceedings and book series of scientific popularization.

China Fisheries Association is a non-government organization in the fisheries industry sector, which acts as the bridge between the government and the fishing industries. The China Distant-water Fisheries Association and the China Federation of Eel Industry are the two Branches of China Fisheries Association.

Legal framework

Law of Fisheries P. R. China:-Law of Wild Animal Protection P. R. China

-Law of Environment Protection P. R. China

-Law of Preventing Water Pollution P. R. China

-Law of Environment Protection P. R. ChinaThe relative regulations and codes:

-Provision of Fishing License Management

-Code of Aquaculture Products Quality Safety Management P. R. China

-Regulation of Wild Aquatic Animal Protection P. R. China

-Regulation of Wild Aquatic Animal and Plant Natural Conservation Management P. R. China

-Management Regulation of Preventing the Marine Engineering Pollution Impacted on the Marine Environment P. R. ChinaRegional and international legal framework

Since The Law of Sea Convention of United Nations has been put into place, China signed fisheries agreements with each neighboring country. For example, China signed fisheries agreements with Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Russia. Between 2001 and 2005, China’s navy fleet patrolled the national EEZ a total of 787 times over 9334 days. The total distance covered was over 900,000 miles. The inspecting navy insured the execution of the bilateral fisheries agreements.

Bilateral fishery cooperation agreementsChina has signed more than 20 bilateral fishery cooperation agreements, involving the fisheries resources management and maintenance in the Exclusive Economic Zone, the fishing, aquaculture, science and technology exchanges and cooperation in various fields. Involved states are: South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, the Seychelles, Uruguay, Norway, Indonesia, Russia.

The following is a part of the agreement:The Sino-Japan Fishery AgreementThe Sino-South Korea Fisheries Agreement Fishery Cooperation Agreement in the Beibu Gulf The Sino-Russia Protocol on Two RiversThe MOU of Fishery Law Enforcement between China and USAThe Sino-Australia Fishery Agreement

International Fisheries Convention Signed by P. R. China

-United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982 Senate Treaty Doc. 103-39, Oct. 6, 1994 (May 15, 1996)

-Agreement for The Implementation of The Provisions of The United Nations Convention On the Law Of The Sea Of December 10 1982 Relating to the Conservation And Management Of Straddling Fish Stocks And Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, 1995 (November 6, 1996)

-International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Rio de Janeiro, May 14 1966 (October 24, 1996)

-Agreement for the Establishment of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission March 27, 1996 (October 14, 1998)

-Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks In the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (December 2, 2004)

-1949 IATTC Convention (March 3, 2004)

-Convention on the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources – Central Bering Sea (1994) (June 16, 1994)

-Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species Of Wild Fauna And Flora, 1975 (Cites). (January 8, 1981)

-The FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

-The Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management -Measures By Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (Food and Agriculture Organization (Fao) Compliance Agreement)

-Agreement of NACA (January 8, 1988)

-Convention Establishing International Maritime Organization as Amended In 1993 (October 27, 1994)

-Protocol of 1992 to Amend the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969 (January5, 1999)

-Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety to the Convention on Biological Diversity(August 8, 2000)

-1993 Amendments to Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 Colreg 1972 (January 7, 1980)

-International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979

-The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, 1980 (June 24, 1985)

-The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by DumpingOf Wastes and Other Matter, London, 1972 (September 6, 1985)

-The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Crew in Fishing Vessel. 1995 (September 30, 1996)


1. Fishery and fisheries management working priorities for 2016-Issued by General office of the Ministry of Agriculture.
2. The review of fisheries development during 12th five-year" –published by bureau of Fishery and Fisheries Management of the Ministry of Agriculture.
3. China Fisheries Statistical Yearbook, 2015.
4. The review of fisheries development in 2014 and working plan of 2015 –published by bureau of Fishery and Fisheries Management of the Ministry of Agriculture.
5. The development of China Fisheries in 60 Years-published in China Fisheries MagazineMinistry of Agriculture, Bureau of Fishery (MOABOF), 2014. The yearbook of fisheries 2014.Ministry of Agriculture, Bureau of Fishery (MOABOF), 2015. The statistic yearbook of fisheries 2015.

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