1986 Podcast Series || Learn More

Overfishing & marine Ranching
in China

June 2019

Groundbreaking new podcast series 1986 from Sustainable Asia interviews Chinese and global ocean advocates to investigate the overfishing problem that is pushing Chinese fishing vessels into the South China Sea and beyond to find their catch. Read the press release, see media package or listen to the podcast on Spotify, ITUNES, Chinadialogueocean.

Episode 1


How does China influence the global network of policies regulating the world’s fisheries?

In 1986, China passed its Fisheries Law, privatising fishing vessels and unleashing a massive expansion in the fleet. Today one in four fishing vessels in the world are Chinese. Most are fishing off China’s coast, leading to a significant problem with overfishing. But the oceans, and the resources they hold, are shared by everyone. How is China dealing with overfishing and how does that impact global fishing on the high seas?

Many countries - particularly China, Spain, Japan, and Korea - have large international fleets. But those fleets are probably the most poorly regulated because they are roving around in remote areas and there is not actually really good international governance on fisheries. All that space out in the middle of the ocean is basically neutral it’s kind of a free for all…
— Margot Stiles, OCEANA

Episode 2

How will China’s fishery policies change under the 13th Five Year Marine Plan?

Since the Han Dynasty, fishing was the main source of livelihood on the  Yangtze River basin - now the Yangtze is closed to all fishing for ten years.   Marine pollution and overfishing have been knocking on China’s door since the 1986 Fisheries Law and the reform period in China. Why is China facing a critical state of overfishing in its marine waters and what are they doing about it?


Episode 3

How domestic aquaculture, fish exports and trash fish lead to more overfishing

China’s domestic aquaculture has struggled with the pressures of China’s economic growth - and its demands for fish feed are making China’s coastal overfishing problem…. even worse.   Can China’s massive fish export industry be sustained under current overfishing conditions? The World Bank has predicted that in ten years, China will account for 38% of the world’s fish consumption.  How is China preparing for that?

Starting from 2020, Fishing will be completely banned in the Yangtze River for 10 years.

Episode 4

It’s possible the marine ranching in China could be one way to restore habitats and ecosystem functions that could help rebuild healthy and abundant wild fish population.
— John Mimikakis

Is Marine Ranching under the 13th Five Year Plan a Solution to Overfishing?

There is a new type of mari-culture called “marine ranching” off the coasts of China.  In fact, China’s 13th Five Year Plan calls for billions to be spent on artificial reefs and seeding juvenile fish in the ocean - using scientific and sustainable methods.  Can the local provinces implement marine ranching pilot programs with sustainability in mind? How is this program impacting ocean habitat and marine protected areas in China?

The projection is that if nothing is done we’re going to lose 50 to 60 percent...of the livelihoods all the income and benefits associated with these fisheries which is very, very serious for the countries in the region.
— Yvonne Sadovy, The University of Hong Kong