New project for sustainable squid fishing launched in China

New project for sustainable squid fishing launched in China

A new project aimed at improving the sustainability of existing fishing practices for Japanese flying squid (JFS) has been launched at the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo in Qingdao, China, according to a press release.

The East China Sea and Yellow Sea Squid fisheries improvement project (FIP) intends to improve the management and fishing practices of Chinese trawl, purse seine and gillnet vessels that catch migratory JFS in the seas off China’s east coast, where annual production can reach 30,000 metric tons.

The JFS fishery has a variety of issues that the FIP will look to resolve; chiefly, China currently lacks a JFS-specific harvesting strategy, outside of a moratorium banning the use of motorized vessels in summer. Catch traceability has also been a problem.

The FIP will therefore introduce a five-year work plan to establish science-based stock assessments and bycatch monitoring protocols, harvest rules fit to JFS one-year lifecycles, and traceability systems to verify and track harvest locations.

Many of those involved with the project are global seafood companies who supply the species to the EU, US, Japan, South Korea and China’s own vast domestic market.

While originally founded by Ocean Outcomes, Sea Farms and PanaPesca, the FIP has also received support from Quirch Foods, Seachill, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), among other major industry stakeholders.

“Around a third to half of all squid passes through a Chinese seafood supply chain, whether caught, processed, traded, or consumed,” said He Cui, head of CAPPMA, in the statement.

“Given CAPPMA’s commitment to both domestic and global seafood sustainability, it’s in our interest to ensure a future where all squid stocks are healthy. This project will help us explore a path forward.”

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