By Mark Godfrey, SeafoodSource contributing editor reporting from Beijing, China
Published on 06 June, 2013
The average Chinese citizen will be eating 42.6 kg of fish in 2022, an average annual increase of 1.5 percent over the next decade, meaning China as a whole will eat 63 million tons of fish by then. That's an increase of 26 percent on current figures, according to new projections from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), compiled in cooperation with the Chinese agriculture ministry.
China will have 69 million tons of fisheries output from aquaculture and capture in 2022, a 26 percent increase on the average level recorded between 2010 and 2012, according to a report issued today in Beijing by the OECD in cooperation with the FAO.
At a conference for Chinese agricultural experts and officials, the agricultural output 2013-2022 published by the two organizations projects that produce from aquaculture will rise by 37 percent while output from capture fisheries will slide by 3 percent. China’s aquaculture output will hit 53 million tons, or 63 percent of global aquaculture output, says the report. It however also highlights a slowdown in the growth of aquaculture, from 5.4 percent in the last decade to 2.4 percent by 2022. The slowdown will be caused by “water and land constraints,” according to the report, which also flags “considerable environmental challenges” which may slow the roll-out of aquaculture even further. In capture fisheries meanwhile government is limiting volumes while also curbing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, while also encouraging “structural adjustment and efficiency.”
In volume terms at least, the increase in imports will look modest in the context of Chinese aquaculture and export figures. While the report as outlined today in Beijing doesn’t cite separate figures for seafood, China’s Fish imports for human consumption will hit 4.4 million tons by 2022, growing by an average 2.1 percent a year over the coming decade. The share of imports in domestic fish consumption will rise from 7 to 8 percent. Exports out of China meanwhile will rise 28 percent over the period to 10 million tons by 2022.
Speaking at the presentation in Beijing, OECD senior economist Merritt Cluff pointed to rising Chinese incomes linked to a “complex interaction” between factors like urbanization and higher living standards as key drivers of growth in consumption of fish and other meat products.