China’s seafood production, consumption, aquaculture operations, and commercial fishing fleets are staggering in size.
- 25% of the world’s commercial fishing capacity is Chinese
- 35% of the world’s seafood (wild and farmed combined) comes from China
- 5 million square miles, an area of Switzerland and Netherlands combined, are used for Chinese aquaculture production
- China consumes more seafood than the next 10 countries combined
Despite the size of the Chinese seafood industry and the unique status seafood has in Chinese diet and economy—China is the world’s largest seafood trading country and home to the world’s largest wild seafood processing and re-exporting sector—the industry as a whole lags behind most North American and West European countries from a sustainability perspective. There is little consumer awareness or demand for sustainable seafood, government led fisheries reform often faces many barriers, there are few organizations working towards seafood reform, and any work to bring Chinese fisheries and aquaculture operations in line with internationally recognized best practices is few and far between.
Our work in China is focused around building a Chinese sustainable seafood movement, including increasing consumer and business awareness regarding the fisheries crisis and exploring solutions towards more sustainable practices with government and industry leaders. This includes demonstration level conservation projects in key ecoregions to protect important spawning grounds, piloting fishery and aquaculture improvement projects to instruct management policies, and engaging Chinese industry and other supply chain actors. Without a significant and concerted push for reform, it’s likely overfishing, irresponsible aquaculture, and habitat loss and degradation in China will continue.
Stories from the Field: China
- O2 and CAPPMA Commit to a More Sustainable Future for Chinese Seafood Industry on World Oceans Day
- Expanding Capacity and Expertise in Policy, IUU, and China
- Opportunities for Sustainable Seafood in China
Meet O2's China Program Director
Songlin, who lives in China, is an experienced and passionate conservation professional. His international career includes work for The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund (WWF China and WWF International), and The Paulson Institute, among others. He has planned, led, and coordinated a number of large scale sustainable fisheries projects, aquaculture improvement projects, and wetlands conservation projects. His efforts helped guide the first Marine Stewardship Council certification of a Chinese fishery and created enabling conditions for the first two Chinese fish farms to be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. In addition to this work, he also advises leading international and Chinese NGOs on coastal and marine biodiversity conservation issues. Trained first as a marine ecologist at the Ocean University of China, and then an environmental manager at Yale, Songlin excels at exploring conservation solutions from political, market, and scientific angles. He is fluent in both Mandarin and English and in his spare time enjoys reading, traveling, sports, and keeping ornamental freshwater fish.