As China draws fire on IUU, China’s squid capital enjoys record growth

Published on
October 29, 2020

With Chinese leaders meeting in Beijing this week to finalize the country’s five-year economic blueprint, the operators of China’s self-declared capital of squid processing are hailing a record growth in landings and processing volumes during the outgoing five year plan.

Officials from the Zhoushan National Distant-Water Fishery Industry Base invited regional media to tour the industrial park and port facilities to mark the completion of the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which will give way next year to the 14th Five-Year Plan, a document produced by the central government to guide China's economy.

Lenders and stock buyers look to the five-year plan as a guide to how the government would like to grow the nation’s economy, and industry executives and businesspeople across the country take the planning sessions as opportunities to lobby the government for favorable treatment.

Crediting encouraging policies in the 13th Five-Year Plan, management of the Zhoushan base – which accounts for the bulk of China’s distant-water squid catch and a fifth of its licensed distant-water fleet – is claiming its catch in 2019 increased from 426,000 metric tons (MT) to 542,000 MT, accounting for about 22 percent of China’s total. At 390,000 MT, the port’s squid catch accounts for 65 percent of the entire country’s total haul.

In 2015, Zhoushan municipal government, which depends heavily on taxes from the marine sector, increased the allowable limit on the number of firms licensed to operate distant-water fisheries from 33 to 37. Subsequently, the number of distant-water fishing vessels operating out of the port has grown from 460 to 598, accounting for one-fifth of the country’s total.

Even as China’s huge squid fleet caused much unease this summer as it amassed off the coast of Ecuador, Zhoushan is driving global squid catches higher as it wants to create an “efficient” value chain, according to a statement this week to local media. The industry is worth CNY 30 billion (USD 4.5 billion, EUR 3.9 billion) to the city this year so far in 2020 – up 11.4 percent on last year – according to Zhang Hongbin, head of the local Ocean and Fisheries Bureau.

Zhang told provincial TV that getting designation of the Zhoushan National Distant-Water Fishery Industry Base as the country’s first national-level oceanic fishery base in 2015 was a key driver for the city’s rising fortunes.

Companies operating out of the base include Ocean Family and Zhejiang Dayang Xinghe Food Co., both of which process squid for distribution to the domestic and international markets. 

Photo courtesy of Zhoushan Government Investment Promotion Center

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