Aquaculture fills the protein demand gap

China’s total production from aquaculture tripled in the past two decades despite the loss of 57 percent of its coastal wetlands, 73 percent of its mangroves and 80 percent of its coral reefs since the 1950s. Marine ecosystems are being lost to land reclamation and urban development. The majority of aquaculture production is freshwater, marine aquaculture is still substantial, accounting for 40 percent of production in 2012.

Reclamation of China’s coastal wetlands causes a loss of $31 billion annually in coastal ecosystem services, equivalent to 6 percent of gross marine products in China. Wetlands loss in China has contributed significantly to the decline of migratory bird populations.

China has the largest distant water fleet, with 1,900 vessels in 2010. China aims to increase the size of its distant water fleet to 2,300 vessels in 2015. The domestic fleet is primarily privately owned, and the distant water fleet has evolved from being entirely state owned to 70 percent privately owned.

Rabobank has a overview of the increasing demand for protein in China and the world and how aquaculture is meeting that need. There is competition for land so there is intensification of land use for aquaculture and technology to boost yield.