China’s pet craze drives rise in demand for small fish

Published on
March 9, 2018

Urbanization and changing lifestyle trends amongst China’s middle class has led to a boom in the popularity of pets, including cats and dogs.

The number of pet stores in major Chinese cities has exploded in recent years, and along with China’s embrace of household pets has come a sharp increase in the use of small fish in premium cat food. 

This appears to go against a government effort to reduce the harvesting of juvenile fish species, but may result in the increase in imports of small-scale fish – or a ramp-up in local aquaculture production to meet this burgeoning new market. 

The premium cat food food is being packaged by a number of local firms, but frequently comes in small packets. For example, the “Miao Da Da” brand, produced in a plant in Jiangxi Province,  comes in 100-gram sachets that sell for CNY 9.90 (USD 1.57, EUR 1.26). 

The origins of the fish in the food are unclear. The contents are described as “freshwater” fish but the species isn’t identified on the food’s packaging. 

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