Organic Aquaculture in China

Abstract: Negative environmental impacts, safety issues for aquaculture products, increased fish consumption and increasing market share of organic foods have combined to focus attention on organic aquaculture from both researchers and industries worldwide. There is much extant research that investigates the organic aquaculture development in the world. However, little emphasis is given to China, the biggest aquaculture production country and highest growing organic market. This research aims to narrow this gap in the literature by reviewing organic aquaculture in China from a global perspective. Organic aquaculture has experienced a remarkable growth over the last decade in China. The total production from organic aquaculture increased by 1700%, from 5000 tonnes in 2003 to 85,000 tonnes in 2012, mainly of fish (62,000 tonnes), shrimps (7600 tonnes), scallop (6400 tonnes), sea cucumber (5000 tonnes), crabs (2200 tonnes), clams (500 tonnes), eel (480 tonnes), Chinese softshell turtle (370 tonnes), trumpet shell (180 tonnes), sea hedgehog etc. (270 tonnes). 174 operations have received organic aquaculture certification, with the total area of about 400,000 ha. Organic aquaculture production is concentrated mainly in 10 provinces, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Hunan, Inter Mongolia, Xinjiang, Anhui, Liaoning, Hainan, Fujian and Shandong. The majority of organic aquaculture farms give priority to polyculture. The development of nutritionally efficient diets using organic sources of ingredients is a challenge. Practical guidelines for energy efficiency, disease control and polyculture in organic aquaculture standard should be elaborated. Major constraints regarding organic aquaculture arise from the fragmentation of certification due to the absence of an internationally recognized standard, and limited possibilities for knowledge. The future market penetration of organic aquaculture products will depend on the improvement of the coordination between production and market. This review provides some necessary background to national conventional and organic aquaculture production. Environmental impacts and food safety issues of aquaculture are discussed. It focuses briefly on the development and operating characteristics of organic aquaculture. Finally, the authors examine the important issues of the organic standards and certification and offer recommendations for stimulating future development.

Reference: Xie, B., et al. (2013). Organic aquaculture in China: A review from a global perspective. Aquaculture 414: 243-253. Online: