China offshore catch tops aquaculture growth

Published on
May 22, 2013

China added 1,395 new boats to its offshore fishing fleet in the first quarter of 2013 according to ministry of agriculture data, and figures show offshore catching grew faster than aquaculture compared to 2012.

The country’s offshore fishing reeled in 289,000 metric tons (MT) in the first three months of the year, an increase of 1 percent over the same period last year. That volume was worth RMB 3.2 billion (USD 521.6 million, EUR 403.2 million), up 2 percent year-on-year. While the data release doesn’t detail the size or capacity of the vessels, it does break down the country’s fishing catch: 139,000 MT were fished in foreign waters, a 12 percent climb on the same period last year. The other 150,000 MT is classified as “pelagic” (fished on the “high seas”) — down 9 percent year-on-year.

China’s overall seafood output appeared to be in good shape in the first quarter of 2013. According to statistics published by China’s agriculture ministry, output of aquatic products from January to April 2013 totaled 16.25 million MT, up 5.74 percent over last year, while the price of aquatic products in local wholesale markets averaged RMB 20.57 (USD 3.35, EUR 2.59) per kilogram, up 3.46 percent compared to 2012.

The ministry’s data shows that the aquaculture production reached 11.72 million MT, up 6.56 percent over 2012. Ocean fishing products production reached 4.53 million MT, up 3.69 percent. The data also shows that from January to March, the total production of deep-sea fishing reached 4.53 million MT, up 3.69 percent over last year.

The ministry, in a statement posted on its website, noted: “pond aquaculture production remained stable, however higher feed and other factors of production prices caused the pond aquaculture industry revenue to decline slightly.” Marine fishing by contrast was up, with catches and fishermen’s income both rising along with prices.

China’s trade surplus in aquatic products hit USD 2.09 billion in the first quarter, an increase of 15.88 percent year-on -year. Japan continues to rank first as an export market for aquatic products from China, while the United States slipped from second to fourth place. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become China's third largest export market, after Hong Kong. However these figures may be slightly skewed given particularly high growth in exports to Hong Kong — some of this volume may be for re-export.

According to statistics from Chinese Customs, the total amount of imports and exports of aquatic products in the first quarter of 2013 reached 1.93 million MT, a 1.85 percent increase, while total value reached USD 6.6 billion (EUR 5.1 billion), up 11.47 percent year-on-year. Exports totaled an increase year-on-year of 4.53 percent to 901,500 MT, worth USD 4.6 billion (EUR 3.6 billion), up 12.68 percent year-on-year.

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