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Aquaculture Industry in China: Outlook and Prospects

Date:06-12-2013

The aquaculture industry in China is a booming industry that has witnessed rapid growth in the last couple of years. China has a long history in aquaculture, dating more than 2500 years. After the economic reform and opening-up in China in 1978, the development and expansion of aquaculture in the country was quite phenomenal. Around ninety percent of aquaculture production in the world comes from the Asia Pacific region. China is the largest producer of fish and seafood and account for over 70% of the total production of the world. In 2011, the volume of aquatic products in China was around 56.1 million tons. This represented a year-on-year increase of 4.4%. Both freshwater and seawater fish production in China has increased in recent years. In 2011, seawater fish products in China accounted for 51.9% of the total production, while freshwater fish products accounts for 48.1%.

Market Overview
The aquaculture industry in China has a high potential for growth due to rise in population and increase in consumption of fish and seafood. The export volume of aquatic products in China has increased considerably in the last couple of years. Some of the factors that are contributing to the growth in export are high-quality of products and the increase in demand from the overseas market. In 2011, the total export value of aquaculture products in China amounted to 17.79 million USD and the total export volume was 3.912 million tons. This represented a year-on-year increase of 28.7% in terms of export value and 17.1% in terms of export volume. The main export varieties in the country are aquatic products such as tilapia, prawn, eel, shellfish, crayfish, common carp, yellow croaker etc.

The top aquatic products producing provinces in China are Shandong, Fujian, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Hubei and Guangxi. Of these the export volume from the coastal provinces of Shandong and Fujian accounted for 48.8% of the total export volume. Aquatic products from China are mainly exported to Japan, South Korea, United States and Europe. In 2011, exports to these regions accounted for 86.3% of the total export of aquatic products in China. In China, the aquatic product processing industry has also witnessed steady growth. This increase has been attributed to change in eating patterns of consumers and expansion of aquaculture.

Some of the challenges in the industry include aquaculture diseases, pollution in waterways and issues of sustainability due to overfishing. With environmental management and hygienic regulation, the aquaculture industry in China is expected to flourish.

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