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2: Map of China, showing its 31 provinces, autonomous regions and centrally administered municipalities.  

2: Map of China, showing its 31 provinces, autonomous regions and centrally administered municipalities.  

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This document aims to provide a broad perspective of China's fishing and related activities, and to support a better understanding of the role of China in world fisheries. The scope of the study is focused on China's marine capture fisheries, and covers the following subjects: the scale of Chinese catches, the state of the Chinese fleet, the role o...

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... Indeed, China ranks as the world's leading fishing nation, accounting for about one-fifth of the global marine catch, of which over 85% is caught domestically (Normile 2017; Fisheries Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs 2019). Accordingly, studying the development of Chinese marine capture fisheries is germane to gaining a global understanding of the future of wild fish stocks and consequent food security challenges (Blomeyer et al. 2012;Mallory 2016;Szuwalski et al. 2020). ...
... However, the accelerating harvest and lack of effective implementation of fisheries management have resulted in a reduction in the biomass of traditional high-value species and a change in the structure of marine ecosystems (He et al. 2015;Liang (c) As would be expected, the intensive fisheries exploitation has resulted in significant drops in catch per unit effort at the both national and provincial scales. Excess fishing capacity has been identified as a major impediment to effective fisheries management in China (Blomeyer et al. 2012;Cheng et al. 2006;Huang and Tang 2019). Marine capture fisheries in China are multi-gear and multi-species . ...
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China (herein referred as China’s mainland, and excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) is the largest contributor to global seafood production. While China’s marine fisheries have been extensively documented, there is a gap in systematically quantifying production of its marine fisheries and the different challenges confronting them at provincial level. We addressed this gap in spatial detail by providing a review that compares and contrasts China’s fisheries exploitation history both at national and provincial levels based on official statistical data. We expanded upon this to explore aspects of bio-socio-economic challenges faced by the country’s 11 fishing provinces. Our analysis suggested that significant increases in domestic marine catches in China has been accompanied by escalating fishing power which has had differential impacts at provincial scale. Catch per unit effort (CPUE) sharply declined at both national and provincial scales, and many traditionally targeted demersal fish stocks showed clear downward trends in terms of catches. The 11 fishing provinces in China can be grouped into four clusters with distinct biological, social and economic attributes. Targeted measures are recommended accordingly when implementing fisheries management measures for each specific fishing province in order to deliver an overall improvement in the sustainability of China’s marine fisheries.
... This 'race to fish' happened, for example, during negotiations of the South Pacific albacore (137) fishery, under the remit of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) (Kang, 2016). During the WCPFC 2014 annual meeting, the Chinese delegates insisted on increasing the Chinese DWF fleet in the area from 100 to 400 vessels before agreeing to any limits, despite scientists' concerns over the status of the albacore population (Kang, 2016 international agreements and standards aimed at tackling IUU fishing (Mallory, 2013;Macfadyen et al., 2019), poor working conditions and human slavery (Global Slavery Index, 2018) and non-compliance with reporting requirements (Blomeyer et al., 2012;Mallory, 2013 of these vessels are owned and/or operated by the 95.7% of companies with fleets of 10 vessels or fewer (Table 4). ...
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Having depleted fish stocks in domestic waters, the fleets of many industrialised countries are now travelling further afield to meet the rising demand for seafood. Much of this distant-water fishing (DWF) takes place in the territorial waters of low-income countries. As well as competing against the interests of local people, DWF in low-income countries is often associated with unsustainable levels of extraction, and with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.China’s DWF fleet is the largest in the world, and so is thought to have significant effects on the environment and socioeconomic impacts in developing countries. Although China’s DWF fleet is known to be large, there is little information available about its actual size and the scale of its operations. For instance, recent assessments have produced estimates ranging between 1,600 and 3,400 vessels. In addition, it is unclear whether the Government of China has a comprehensive overview of China’s DWF fleet; vessel ownership is highly fragmented among many small companies and the fleet includes vessels registered in other jurisdictions. With information from the Krakken®database (FishSpektrum, 2018) and automatic identification system (AIS) data for 2017 and 2018, we investigated the size and operations of China’s DWF fleet using big data analytic techniques, ensemble algorithms and geographic information systems (GISs).
... Between 2004 and 2015, the country's marine fishing fleet shrunk more than 10 percent, from 220,000 ships to 187,211 ships (see Table 5.5). Nonetheless, the reliability of the data remains in (Blomeyer et al. 2012;Pauly et al. 2014). One of the key reasons for the underestimation of annual marine catch production is the existence of a large number of "black ships" (fishing vessels without relevant legal permits). ...
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With limited land and water resources, China attaches great importance to the development of fishery sector in safeguarding the country’s food security. This chapter examines how the “blue granary” or the marine-based food security strategy has affected China’s fisheries sectors and its global implications. This chapter finds that food security has been the key driver for two key structural changes that are taking place in China’s fishery sector, including the rapid growth of the aquaculture and outward expansion of the marine fishery sector. As China launches its new round of reform efforts to control domestic fishery sector, the country’s rising demand for fishery products will also increasingly be met through imports. Growing consumption and shifting trade position of China will have far-reaching consequences for global fishery trade and fisheries production.
... In 2014, China's aquatic products exports totalled nearly USD 21 billion, accounting for 12.5 percent of total global exports, up from just 7 percent in 2007 (Zhang, 2018). This has largely been credited to its massive and growing labour-intensive aquacultural sector (Blomeyer, Goulding, Pauly, Sanz, & Stobberup, 2012;Zhao & Shen, 2016). ...
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Using the UN Comtrade database and multiple sources of agricultural investment data, this paper outlines the emerging patterns of food trade and agricultural investment between Southeast Asian countries and China. The paper shows that China has adopted a flexible overseas food strategy. First, China has increased food export and shifted its food trade with Southeast Asia from a dependent relationship towards a complementary relationship at the regional level in recent years. Second, China tends to adapt to the existing conditions of food production and trade in Southeast Asian countries instead of fundamentally altering them. Finally, Chinese overseas agricultural investment is less driven by domestic food demand but more oriented for profit making, and this gives it flexibility in diversifying investment. An adequate understanding of China’s flexible food strategy in bilateral and multilateral relationships holds implications for global food security.
... Judging with the official data, the goals of 'zero/negative growth' policies seemed to have been met (Figure 3). However, other sources such as the studies published by the European Parliament, the Greenpeace and a research team led by Daniel Pauly all suggest that China might have underreported its distant water catch since the early 2000s (Blomeyer et al, 2012;Greenpeace, 2015;Pauly et al., 2014). And according to a Chinese fishery expert China's annual catch from the South China Sea exceeded 4.8 million metric tons as compared with the official data of about 3.5 million metric tons in recent years (Liu, 2012). ...
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This paper first examines two most significant structural shifts in China's marine fishery sector in the past decades, namely, expanding outward and going after high market value species. It then explains how domestic policies and development strategies have shaped the trajectory of China's marine fishery sector, and analyzes the obstacles rooted in both domestic socio-political settings and global governance that have impeded policy reform and effective enforcement in China to ensure marine sustainability and international cooperation. Lastly, the paper explores possible options for transnational advocacy actors that are concerned with the global impact of China's growing fisheries.
... Chinese statistical data reported to FAO have been challenged to either overreport or underreport fisheries production (Watson and Pauly, 2001;Blomeyer et al., 2012). Accurate and appropriate knowledge of fisheries productions and resources is a prerequisite for the design of sound policy and for responsible fisheries management and governance (Bazigos, 1974;Welcomme, 2011), while public knowledge about Chinese fisheries does not reflect its considerable importance. ...
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As the largest fisheries producer nation (including capture fisheries and aquaculture in both inland and marine waters), information about China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) is essential to evaluate the status of aquatic natural resources, the challenge of food security, and to guide policy implementation for future sustainable fisheries development. In this study, the official Chinese statistical data on inland capture fisheries and aquaculture from the earliest available year of 1949 to the latest year of 2013 were first summarized. Chinese inland fisheries in current status were evaluated by maximum net primary productivity, and their future development was projected from a scientific point of view. As a result, Chinese inland fisheries are already unsustainable and overexploited, and some species have been extirpated or are facing extirpation. Because of the unbalanced, geographic distributions of water resources and human density, inland aquaculture is oversaturated in eastern China, which also suffers from water pollution, species invasions, and fauna reconstruction. To continue to provide freshwater aquatic food for the increasing human population, a precautionary plan, as well as new techniques, are needed, along with an awareness of possible ecological after-effects.
... According to a report, prepared at the request of the European Parliament, by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Policies, 'activities and catches of the Chinese distant-water fleets are almost completely undocumented and unreported, and often, may actually be illegal, thus spanning the entire gamut of IUU fishing' (Blomeyer et al, 2012). ...
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Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is at the centre of a crisis of sustainability. Nowhere is that crisis more visible than in western Africa. Current rates of extraction are driving several species towards extinction while jeopardising the livelihoods of local fishing communities across Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mauritania. Drawing on a unique satellite tracking database, this report by ODI and porCausa presents new evidence of the scale and pattern of IUU fishing. It focuses on ‘reefers’ – large-scale commercial vessels receiving and freezing fish at sea – and the use of containers. It provides evidence of practices that undermine multilateral governance rules aimed at curtailing IUU fishing and promoting sustainable, legal practices. The report identifies pathways for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to move towards greater transparency and sustainable management of fisheries to prevent the irreversible depletion and possible extinction of species, and to preserve the marine ecosystems where the fishing activities take place.
... For instance, according to a Chinese research team led by Lu Huosheng, a professor at Guangdong Ocean University, China's annual catch from the South China Sea exceeded 4.8 million metric tons as compared with the official data of about 3.5 million metric tons in recent years [56]. In 2012, a study conducted by the European Parliament concluded that the catch of China's DWF fleets is estimated at 4.6 million metric tons per year globally for the 12-year period from 2000 to 2011, compared to an average of 368,000 metric tons per year according to China's report to FAO [57]. One of the key reasons for the underestimation of annual marine catch production is the existence of a large number of "black ships" (fishing vessels without relevant legal permits) (Interview 4/10/2014; Interview 20-24/07/2015) [58]. ...
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China's strategic and political considerations have directly and indirectly contributed to the growing presence of Chinese fishermen in disputed waters in the South China Sea and in the East China Sea. But it is an overstatement to claim that China is launching a “people's war” at sea. Based on extensive interviews with Chinese fishermen, scholars, and government officials and with a comprehensive review of the official documents, news reports, and existing research papers, the author argues that food security and economic factors are the primary drivers for the outward expansion of China's marine fishery sector. The Chinese fishermen are increasingly placed at the center stage of maritime conflicts in the troubled regional waters.
... China's expansion in the Tuna industry has been strongly supported by the government, leading to the development of large state-owned fishing enterprises for distant water fishing [45]. However, as the main areas of Tuna distribution do not include waters under Chinese jurisdiction, 70-85% of the processed Tuna is foreign-owned [6,46]. ...
... However, in a recent survey [67], it was found that in some cases false documentation can allow the entrance of Chinese IUU products into the US legal market. In fact, although China has joined several international agreements on the protection of fish stocks, it remains significantly involved in IUU fishing [46] and [68]. ...
... However, our estimate includes more than 2 500 vessels operating in the East China Sea within the EEZs of Japan and South Korea. These vessels operate exclusively within the continental shelf of the north-west Pacific and are likely to be identified as coastal/offshore vessels in the Chinese Statistical Yearbooks, that is, to be listed among the about 300 000 motorized fishing vessels operating along the Chinese coast (FAO 2011; Blomeyer et al. 2012). Excluding the Chinese vessels operating in the waters of Japan and Korea from our total (Table 2) leaves us with 900 vessels as 'bottom-up' estimate of the size of the Chinese distant-water fleet (i.e. about half the officially reported number of Chinese distant-water fishing vessels; Table S2in the Online Supporting Materials). ...
... The acronym 'IUU' also includes 'Unreported' and 'Unregulated', and this study was an attempt to document what the total Chinese distant-water fleet catch could be, not to assess illegal activities. The present study is based on a report and presentation (on July 11, 2012) to the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament (Blomeyer et al. 2012 ), which concluded with the following recommendations , which are of general interest: 1. The FAO should insist on proper reporting of catches from China, both domestic and distant water, by region and taxa. ...