The 2015 Forum on Sustainability in China’s Fisheries, in a Fast Changing World, was held in Xiamen, China, along the southeastern coast of the country.
The forum brought together local and international scientists and researchers who study marine fisheries and aquaculture in China and other parts of the world. The objective of the forum was to discuss the current status of Chinese fisheries, and the challenges and opportunities for attaining sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
Members of the Global Fisheries Cluster at UBC were invited to the event, including Daniel Pauly, William Cheung, myself, IOF faculty member Tony Pitcher, and Research Associate Mimi Lam.
William gave a talk that highlighted the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on global marine biodiversity and fisheries, and he used the projected change in species distributions and catch potential in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea as examples. Daniel presented the reasons why reliable catch estimates are so important and showed some examples from the Sea Around Us catch reconstruction project.
On the last day of the forum there was a group discussion session. Daniel led a discussion on marine fisheries, and William led a discussion on climate change and marine biodiversity. William’s group identified a gap in the literature in reviewing the current understanding of climate change effects on China’s fisheries. Thus, the discussion of his group mainly focused on the planning and development of a review paper on this topic.
On November 11, I was invited to give a presentation at a workshop on blue economy best practice sharing in the APEC region, which was held at the APEC centre in Xiamen. In this workshop, participants discussed all the issues related to the economic aspects of the marine and freshwater ecosystems: like ecotourism, coastal eco-aquaculture, wetland ecological restoration and coastal blue carbon. I gave a summary of my study on the impact of climate change on the fisheries economics at both the global scale and along the northwestern coast of British Columbia.
Following the sustainability forum Daniel, William and I were then invited by the Third Institute of Oceanology with the State Oceanic Administration to give a talk at their institute. The audience showed great interest in both catch reconstructions and climate change impacts on fisheries.
After all the meetings in Xiamen, Daniel left China for another meeting in Israel. William and I headed to Qingdao because we were invited to visit the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences. During this visit, William presented his work on the impact of climate change on global fisheries, and I shared my experiences in catch reconstruction with the group.
Overall, most of the Chinese researchers found the catch reconstructions to be very valuable for their research, especially for those estimating the catch of the Chinese distant water fleet (DWF) in West Africa. Many scientists also realized the urgency for addressing the mpacts of climate change on Chinese fisheries. During this trip, we met with fisheries researchers in diverse fields and received a great deal of positive feedback on our research. We all hope that there will be more chances for our group to collaborate with the Chinese researchers in the future.