Chinese aquaculture pollution tax enforcement begins with mixed results

Published on
February 2, 2018

Local officials in China are trying to figure out how to apply recently introduced water pollution taxes to the aquaculture sector, in what could prove a major shock to supply in the long-term.

A new tax on effluent and waste production came into force for the farming sector on 1 January, but several provinces are struggling to set parameters for fish and shrimp farms, given many of operations are small-scale and operate without a license. A document from the Department of Agriculture in Beijing, circulated to regional offices, has required officials to make a register of all animal husbandry and aquaculture sites but only refers to “registered sites.”

Shrimp farming has been blamed for pollution and salinification of waterways and could face a major shake-out if China in fact rolls out a similar pollution crackdown on the sector. 

China has conducted a surprisingly robust campaign in the past two years to close down unlicensed and unprofessional piggeries, which were causing major pollution of waterways. In Zhejiang, the pig herd count was reduced by two-thirds. The tax is levied according to the amount of effluent produced; farmers can also apply for tax exemptions if they install waste-treatment plants on their farms that meet national wastewater treatment standards.

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