This was the theme for a workshop arranged by GEDB at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 7-9 December with the aim to analyse China’s role as stewards of marine ecosystems, not only in China but around the world. China is already the largest seafood consumer in the world and World Bank projections suggest that China will account for 38 % of global fish consumption of food fish by 2030.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.2 states: “sustainably manage, and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience and take action for their restoration, to achieve healthy and productive oceans”.

Achieving this will require a transformative change in how, but also how much seafood we source from our oceans. Given there is a finite amount of capture fisheries to exploit, understanding where it is currently consumed and where it is most likely to be consumed in the future is critical for devising strategies to address some of the key challenges for achieving goal 14.2.

At the workshop, GEDB researchers and invited experts from various fields together took the first steps to map the past and current status of Chinas fisheries and aquaculture production, the policy and development strategies that have led to this, as well as trends in Chinese consumer demand and preferences. Future steps for the group will be to develop a set of plausible scenarios of how China may reach their production and food security targets, and what implications these different scenarios have for competition on global seafood markets and for sustainable seafood production.