Liang Jialin and Jiang Han, ChinaDialogue
Overfishing Pushes 80 Percent of Chinese Fishermen Towards BankruptcyNovember 9, 2012 By Wilson Center Staff
In mid-September, the fishing season got under way as usual in Ningbo, on China’s east coast, after the three-month season when fishing is forbidden. Over 2,000 steel-hulled boats headed out to sea. But, on board, there was little cause for optimism.
“For the last two years profits from coastal fishing have been low,” explained Chen Jiming, chief engineer at Hainan Fisheries Research Institute. “Early estimates show that, with increasing fuel and labour costs, about 80 percent of fishermen will suffer losses without a diesel subsidy or similar support.”
Chen’s comments have been backed up higher up the chain. Speaking at the first Annual World Ocean Congress in Dalian city on September 9, head of the China Fisheries Association Qi Jingfa said that China leads the world in production and trade of aquatic products, but is weaker than other nations when it came to ocean fishing. Catches from China’s coastal waters have been static for years.
Closed seasons for fishing in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and Yellow Sea have recently ended, but both experts and fishing boat captains predict overfishing and pollution will mean boats setting to sea this year will see little in the way of profit, and may even suffer losses.
Photo Credit: “Fish shop boats along the harbour wall in Sai Kung,” courtesy of flickr user Pondspider (Anne Roberts).