Will China challenge world fish stocks?

Perhaps not!

Published: Sunday 31 August 2003

-- China is the largest producer and consumer of fish. Its zero growth policy for capture fisheries since 1998 will prevent the depletion of fish stock, while most of its future demand will be met through aquaculture

In 2000, global fishery production was 130.4 million tonnes (mt) and China's share was 41.6 mt

Production sources include capture fisheries and aquaculture

Of the 94.8 mt of global capture fisheries in 2000, China accounted for 18 per cent (17 mt), down from the 20 per cent share it held in 1998. At 17 mt, it was the leader in capture fisheries

But, China would account for five per cent of the expected 13.7 mt increase in the world's capture fisheries from 1997 to 2030. Latin America and the Caribbean will responsible for most of the increase -- 57 per cent

Aquaculture fisheries has been growing rapidly. While the rest of the world has shown a compounded average growth rate of seven per cent per year between 1970 and 2000, China's production grew at 11.5 per cent. In 2000, it accounted for 24.6 mt of the world's 35.6 mt aquaculture production

The market leader (production, million tonnes)
  1997 1999 2001*
China ROW# China ROW China ROW
Capture fishery 15.7 78.2 17.2 76.0 16.8 74.5
Aquaculture 19.3 9.3 22.8 10.6 26 11.5
Total 35 87.5 40 86.6 42.8 86.0
#ROW -- Rest of the world; *Preliminary estimate

While the rest of world's contribution to per capita food supply from aquaculture grew from 0.5 kilogramme (kg) in 1970 to 1.8 kgs in 2000, China's per capita supply from aquaculture increased from one kg to 19 kgs

China will continue to drive the growth of aquaculture. It will account for 70 per cent of the 54 mt increase between 1997 and 2030

China's demand is like its supply. China alone consumed one-third of the worldwide 95.5 mt fish available in 1999

Global annual per capita consumption of fish is estimated to increase from the present 16 kgs to 19-21 kgs in 2030. China will lead the consumption chart with an increase of 84 per cent -- from 25.1 kgs currently to 46.2 kgs in 2030

Source: 'The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2002', the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

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