International Governance of Fisheries Ecosystems: Learning from the Past, Finding Solutions for the Future

Chapter 10: Towards Sustainable Utilization of Fisheries Resources: Fisheries Policy and its Developing Tendency in China

Huang Shuolin and Liu Yanhong

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569995.ch10

China has the largest population in the world estimated during 2007 at 1.321 billion people (CIA 2007). In 2005, about 57% of China’s 1.3 billion population lived in rural areas, and the amount of available cultivated land had already started to decrease during 2005 (Tables 1 and 2; NBS 2006; CEInet 2006). Fisheries are an important source of food and also provide many opportunities for employment. The number of full-time and part-time fisherman employed in the fisheries industry increased from 2,609,137 full-time and 4,698,520 part-time to 6,600,794 full-time and 6,527,899 part-time between 1986 and 2002, respectively (Table 3; FBMA 2006). The annual income earned by these fishermen also increased from 725 Yuan to 5,051 Yuan during this same time period, mirroring the substantial increase in total annual production from 4,751,426 tons to 45,651,790 tons (Table 3; FBMA 2006). At present, more than 20 million people in China rely on fisheries, and production from fisheries was more than 51 million tons in 2005 (Table 3; FBMA 2006). Comparing the annual income from Table 3 and 4, it appears that the average income of fishermen is twice the reported average income of rural populations and roughly 2/3 the reported average income of urban population (NBS 2006). Currently, the main fishing grounds for Chinese fisheries are located in the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea (NOAA-Library 1997, 2000). The major fishing operations entail trawling, purse seining, stow netting, and set netting. Towards the end of the 1980s, Chinese squid jigging began operating in the Sea of Japan and the North Pacific (e.g., NOAA-Library 1997, 2000).

Similar to other fishing nations, management of fisheries in China involves several aspects that include the biology of fisheries resources, the ecology of the environment, the demand of the nation for fish, employment and economics of fisheries. It is very difficult for the policy makers and fisheries managers to balance these aspects and reach a sustainable utilization of the fisheries resources.