Guangdong doubling down on distant-water fishing as economic driver
A key Chinese fishery region has reiterated its goal to expand its fleet and build up a tuna processing and trading center to feed national and regional demand.
Guangdong Province has increased the size of its fleet by 45 percent over the past decade, according to data presented at the annual conference of the Guangdong Association of Distant-Water Fishing, which took place in the city of Guangzhou recently.
It will continue to ramp up building of international fishery bases around the globe while “building a national tuna brand,” the association said in a closing statement from the conference, which was presented to media. Guangdong will have 270 distant-water trawlers by the end of 2020, 45 percent more than it had in 2010, with 84 percent of the fleet less than 10 years old, according to the association.
Members caught 68,000 metric tons (MT) of seafood in international waters in 2019, up 32.5 percent year-on-year with a 17 percent rise in value to CNY 1.1 billion (USD 165 million, EUR 143 million). The members brought 22,000 MT back to Guangdong for processing in 2019, up 50 percent on the previous year. Since its founding in January 2016, the association now has 61 member companies of which 30 are licensed by the Chinese Agriculture Ministry to operate distant-water vessels.
Guangdong wants to further expand its distant-water fleet in order to develop a world-leading tuna processing hub, according to Guangdong Association of Distant-Water Fishing Secretary General Huang Fu Xiong, who officiated at the conference. He’s also the boss of Shenzhen Hua Nan Fishing Co., which in 2018 achieved Marine Stewardship Council certification for its longline yellowfin and bigeye tuna fishery in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Also known as China Southern Fishery Shenzhen Co. Ltd (CSFC), Hua Nan is one of three interconnected Chinese fishing companies, alongside Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd (SZLC), and Liancheng Overseas Fishery (FSM) Co. Ltd. (FZLC), with markets tuna in the European Union, Japan, and the United States.
Local government has been keen to offer support to local distant-water players. The industry is “developing steadily,” Guangdong Agriculture Ministry Deputy Director Gao Qingying said at the conference.
Also speaking at the event was the Chen Xue Jian, vice secretary general of the China Distant-Water Fishing Association, the state-sponsored national lobby group representing the sector.
“We endured many hardships,” Chen said.
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