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 is a lack of Chinese organizations working towards seafood reform, and 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.
This includes increasing consumer and business awareness regarding the fisheries crisis, bolstering in-country capacity and initiatives, exploring solutions towards more sustainable practices with government and industry leaders, and developing and implementing fishery and aquaculture improvement projects.
We implement this work through close partnerships with a local NGO named Qingdao Marine Conservation Society (QMCS) and Tao Ran, a local environmental services organization. Both these entities were established with O2 support, and the partnership arrangement between O2 and these entities provides a flexible avenue to access domestic Chinese funding, operate within China legally, while maintaining a strong, accountable, and international team approach to our sustainable fisheries and seafood work in the region.
This ensures our initiatives are effective and our outcomes durable. Working with QMCS and Tao Ran, we collaboratively fund, design, test and implement a variety of sustainable seafood and fisheries projects throughout China. These include, demonstration level conservation projects in key ecoregions to protect important spawning grounds, fishery and aquaculture improvement projects to instruct management policies, and engaging Chinese industry and other supply chain actors towards improved practices.
Without a significant, concerted, and locally-led push for reform, it’s likely overfishing, irresponsible aquaculture, and habitat loss and degradation in China will continue.
O2, Tao Ran, and partners celebrate the launch of a new project at the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Qingdao. © Ocean Outcomes
O2 and Tao Ran Chinese Fishery Improvement Projects:
Stories from the Field: China
- Global Squid Sustainability Efforts Take Leap Forward
- Leading Seafood Industry Groups Launch First Sustainable Crab Project in China
- Agreement Clears Way for Launch of China’s First Comprehensive Marine FIP
- 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 Qingdao Marine Conservation Society
Qingdao Marine Conservation Society (QMCS), a Chinese nonprofit, was founded by former Ocean Outcomes China Program Director Songlin Wang in 2017. QMCS is dedicated to promoting coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and advancing the sustainable seafood movement in China through scientific research, public and industry education, and the international exchange of information and knowledge. In addition to partnering with O2 in implementing a number of FIPs, QMCS conducts seafood sustainability ratings in collaboration with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and is developing a China Seafood Sustainability Assessment and Education Program, which takes full consideration of China's uniquely rich seafood heritages and nascent sustainable seafood movement status. QMCS staff and members including marine ecologists, seafood experts, aquarium managers, educators, journalists, as well as sea and fish loving Chinese citizens.
Meet Tao Ran
Qingdao Tao Ran Environmental Science and Technology Co. Ltd (Tao Ran) was established by former Ocean Outcomes China Program Director Songlin Wang in 2016. Tao Ran provides professional strategic planning and management services to organisations dedicated to the conservation and management of aquatic environmental resources. The firm works in partnership with fisheries, the aquaculture industry and nonprofits to move the Chinese seafood industry towards a sustainable future. In addition to fishery and aquaculture improvement partnerships with Ocean Outcomes, Tao Ran works closely with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council to grow the number of Chinese farms and species certified by ASC.