BEIJING — China plans to reduce its marine fish catch in the next few years to protect the environment.
The ocean fishery output will drop to less than 10 million tonnes by 2020, down by 3.1 million tonnes from 2015, Vice Minister of Agriculture Yu Kangzhen said.
“When setting the target, we have considered the state of resources, fishermen’s livelihoods and the sustainability of the fishing industry,” Yu said. “To achieve the target, the government will cut down on fishing vessels, examine catches at ports, and act against undersized catches.”
A total of 7.5 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) will be earmarked from the central budget from 2016 to 2020 to subsidize fishermen and encourage them to find jobs in aquaculture and recreational fishing.
In 2020, China will reassess the fishery resources and set further goals to make sure production stays in line with the carrying capacity of the environment, Yu said.
China is the world’s largest country in terms of fish catch with the most fishing vessels and fishermen, but overfishing in the past years has substantially depleted its fishery resources.
Aware of the worsening condition, the government has introduced fishing moratoriums and set up protection zones.
China has prolonged its average fishing off season by a month, which bring the minimum time to three months.