China's imports grow, including from Pakistan, as fishing ban fails

Published on
December 15, 2016

“Chinese demand is more than Pakistan can supply” - that’s the word from Karachi, where suppliers of seafood are filling a rush in orders from China, Pakistan’s giant neighbor.

The quote came from an exporter in Karachi, speaking to SeafoodSource, who noted that Chinese demand is obviating his firm’s need to search for buyers in the European Union, which has previously blocked Pakistani seafood on sanitary grounds.

Pakistan, which has a fleet that fishes in the Arabian Sea and even parts of the Indian Ocean, shipped 46,188 metric tons of seafood to China in the period stretching from July to the end of October, up 23 percent from the same period in 2015). That seafood was valued at USD 114 million (EUR 109 million), up 14 percent year-on-year, according to data published by Shang Ye Ji Shi Bao, a Chinese business newspaper with a focus on foreign trade. More than75 percent of the product shipped to China comprised of crustaceans, while “large amounts” of squid and ribbonfish were also shipped, according to Shang Ye Ji Shi Bao.

Meanwhile, failings in the enforcement of its seasonal fishing moratorium in local waters is causing China to reconsider the ban, and the nation’s fishery authorities have invited input as they consider a new plan that may step up enforcement.

The Fishery Bureau at the Ministry Of Agriculture in Beijing put out a circular earlier this week inviting comments on a revision of current regulations, pointing to frequent contraventions of the current July-to-September fishing ban on territorial waters by trawlers who turn off satellite devices so they can’t be tracked (even though doing so is against the law).

The emptying of Chinese territorial seas is already causing a ripple effect on regional supply chains, with China displacing the E.U., the United States and Japan as the top buyer for seafood exporting nations such as Pakistan.

The continued depletion of its territorial sea stocks by overfishing has forced China to look further afield for seafood supply – both from imports and from expanding catches by Chinese fleets in international waters.

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