By Wang Yan in Hong Kong and Guangdong
In early September, the annual International Seafood Summit, traditionally held in Europe and North America since 2003, chose Hong Kong as its first Asian host venue, as well as the venue for its 10th anniversary celebrations.
This annual summit is an event that professes to bring together the global seafood industry and conservationists for in-depth discussions, presentations and networking around the issue of sustainable seafood.
Sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture has been a global issue for decades due to the welldocumented and universal decline of marine fish stocks. When once only Greenpeace seemed to be taking action, now the market is beginning to take notice of the need for conservation, with international fisheries certification and seafood ecolabeling together with strict quota systems on vulnerable species in force around the world.
According to Zhao Xingwu, Director of the Bureau of Fisheries from China’s Ministry of Agriculture, China exported 3.91 million tons of seafood in 2011, representing more than 25 percent of the world’s total aquaculture production and US$10.2 billion in revenue.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), China contributed 35% of the world’s seafood (mostly farmed) and consumed 34% of the global supply (mainly wild) in 2010. Compared to other large seafood exporters, China has been criticized for a lack of action over sustainability.
“The holding of this year’s Seafood Summit in Hong Kong is probably a positive sign for the Chinese market,” said Fan Xubing, a Beijing-based seafood expert and the Managing Director for Beijing Seabridge Marketing and Consulting Co. Ltd. “It should arouse the domestic shareholders’ attention to get in line with the international community.”
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