China's Aquaculture Contributes to Protection of Fish Resources

In 2015, SCIENCE has published a paper, accusing Chinese aquaculture a threat to world's wild fishery resources (Cao et al., 2015, SCIENCE, 347:133-135.). To this end, Chinese scholars published a number of articles in domestic and foreign journals to refute this baseless argument and prove that China's aquaculture contributes to the protection of fish resources.    

Researchers from Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IHB), together with experts from eight other institutions published an article in Reviews in Aquaculture with the title of “A revisit to fishmeal usage and associated consequences in Chinese aquaculture” (October 22, 2016 online), elucidating that the development of aquaculture in China has no direct relationship with the changes in the world's fisheries resources. 

Several aspects discussed in the article include: 1) Fishmeal usage in Chinese aquaculture; 2) the relationship between the decreasing dietary inclusions of fishmeal and improved feed techniques, especially the use of alternative protein sources for fishmeal; 3) the dominance of Chinese aquaculture by low trophic level species of plants, filter feeders, herbivores and omnivores and consequent low demands for fishmeal; 4) the increasing price of fishmeal and the management of exploitation of wild fisheries in the main fishmeal exporting countries to China. 

China is the world's biggest aquaculture producer from more than 20 years. Since 2000 to 2014, china’s aquaculture production reached from 2460 million tons to 4750 tons, representing 93.1% increase. Meanwhile, aquafeed production in China increased 272.5%. However, despite the rapid increase in aquafeed production, the fishmeal consumption in aquafeeds in China has remained relatively stable over the years, total amount of fishmeal imported remained stable at 100-150 million tons. In fact, China contributes more than 60% to the world aquaculture production at a cost of only 25–30% of the world fishmeal output.