Profile updated on 8 March 2019





Oreochromis niloticus , Oreochromis mossambicus , Oreochromis aureus x niloticus , Oreochromis spp


Nile tilapia, Mozambique tilapia, Blue-Nile tilapia, hybrid, Tilapias nei






Fresh Water


hatchery - closed cycle


  • There is an active producer association – the Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance (HTSA) promoting sustainable seafood production through zonal management, the adoption of Code of Good Practice (CoGP) and pilot demonstration farms, supported by the NGO - China Blue Sustainability Institute.
  • To encourage the supply chain to improve production through the adoption of zonal management approaches, the HTSA has also established an Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP). Quarterly AIP progress reports are available. 
  • Extensive information on disease outbreaks is provided by monthly disease bulletins by the Hainan Marine and Fisheries Department. Weekly river & surface water quality summaries are published by the Hainan Department of Ecology and Environment Protection
  • A Chinese Inspector Quarantine (CIQ) certificate is also required for all export product.
  • Despite the acknowledgment of the importance of zonal aquaculture approaches, there is no information on carrying capacity studies of water bodies for aquaculture purposes.
  • The enforcement of regulations concerning water quality and discharge limits and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements for aquaculture enterprises appears limited.  
  • The enforcement of regulations concerning aquaculture licensing appears limited. The current license application process appears unclear. 
  • There is a lack of publicly available data on source fisheries used in the feed manufacturing industry. 
Recommendation for improvement
  • Encourage the provincial government to enforce and publish the results of EIA and license requirements for aquaculture enterprises. 

  • Encourage the provincial government to invest and conduct research into carrying capacity studies for aquaculture. Use the results of these studies to guide decisions on site selection for aquaculture purposes and the licensing of farms within a total allowable volume of production per waterbody.

  • Feed companies should publicly disclose source fisheries (for example, via annual reports or sustainability reports, regularly updated websites, or via initiatives such as the Ocean Disclosure Project, and, where necessary, initiate Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).


Management Quality:

regulatory framework

< 6

best practices

≥ 8

water quality

< 6


< 6


< 6


  • Chinese Tilapia - Hainan

    In FishSource, information on aquaculture management is displayed at the highest resolution unit for which data is available. Ideally, information would simply be structured around an aquaculture management area (AMA) – the primary unit within which aquaculture management practices should be coordinated across a group of farms to mitigate against cumulative impacts and shared risks. Although AMAs are sometimes recognized in industry strategy and regulatory documents, they are not yet established across all aquaculture industries; so, we typically display information at the province/state level.

    Tilapia - China Guangdong


    Information Sources

    Information on river and surface water quality is available through the Hainan Department of Ecology and Environment Protection (DEEP) website. Information on production volumes and disease are available via the Hainan Marine and Fisheries Department’s (HFMD) website. Information on legislation and aquaculture standards are available through the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China (MoA) and the HFMD website.

    The availability of information in Hainan province is further improved due to the activities and reporting of the Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance (HTSA) and its CoGP.

    A national-level assessment of the environmental impacts of tilapia production is available through a 2012 Seafood Watch report. Information on chemical residues in export product is available via the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website and the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) portal. 

    Management Status

    Zonal Assessment

    Zonal management approaches to aquaculture are acknowledged in national legislation and are being adopted in Hainan province.

    At the national level, the Fishery Law (revised in 2004) gives provincial and local fishery administrations the authority to produce regional regulations and development plans for aquaculture tailored to local conditions including the creation of aquaculture areas (Phillips et al., P. G. White and Yamamoto, others 2009)

    In 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) published a notice on issuing a code of practice for the creation of aquaculture watershed plans. The notice stated that it was necessary to plan and allocate aquaculture production based on good science and identify aquaculture areas to protect the environment and the rights and interests of resource users (MoA 2016)

    In 2016, the Standing Committee of the Fifth People's Congress of Hainan passed regulations concerning the administration of Hainan’s ecological protection red line, which aims to strengthen environmental protection and promote sustainable economic and social development according to national environmental legislation. Under this regulation, county-level boundaries will be established in key ecological terrestrial and marine areas (HMFD 2016)(HMFD 2016)

    Recently, the government announced plans to establish thousands of provincial-level aquaculture demonstration zones under China’s 13th Five Year Plan. These will account for 65% of national aquaculture production by 2020 (Cao et al., others 2017)(Mao 2017) 

    In Hainan, the HTSA – an independent, industry-led, multi-stakeholder association that promotes sustainable seafood production - is adopting zonal management approaches to tilapia farming through the development and enforcement of a CoGP. The HTSA is supported by an NGO called the China Blue Sustainability Institute (HTSA 2014) 

    The CoGP is now in its second edition and has been applied to 35 pilot farms in Hainan (HTSA 2016)(HTSA 2016).  To encourage the supply chain to improve production through the adoption of zonal management approaches, HTSA has also established an AIP in collaboration with SFP in 2011 (Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance 2015)(Han Han and Immink 2013)(Immink et al. 2017).  The Alliance produces quarterly AIP reports to monitor and share progress (ChinaBlue 2017)

    Licensing: Since 2002, the MoA has been responsible for a nationwide aquaculture licensing system (Phillips et al., P. G. White and Yamamoto, others 2009)(Zhu and Dong 2013). However, the process has faced problems with the lack of legislation concerning site selection for aquaculture and the inclusion of small-scale farmers (USDA 2012)(Zajdband 2012)(Zhu and Dong 2013)

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Law of 2002 expanded EIA requirements from individual construction projects to the development of “agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, water conservation and natural resource plans, which include aquaculture". It also refers to environmental assessments of plans for the use of water and land and has expanded the scope of environmental assessments. As of 2008, cage and net enclosure aquaculture in sensitive areas require an EIA report. Environmental assessments are also required for “changed” or “expanded” projects, including marine and freshwater farms. In marine waters, this requirement is regulated under the Marine Environment Protection Law, but the situation in freshwater environments is less clear (Phillips et al., P. G. White and Yamamoto, others 2009)

    Scientific Advice

    The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the main scientific advisory institution in China (Li et al. 2016). Its research and development arm consists of over 100 research institutions covering most aspects of the natural sciences (Li et al. 2016) The China National Fishery Technology Extension Centre under the Ministry of Agriculture and its regional extension stations are the main mechanisms for fisheries technology extension services (Song 1997).

    The HTSA has established a supervisory board and a scientific advisory committee (SAC) consisting of a group of aquaculture scientists providing advice on responsible and sustainable aquaculture practices including zonal management and CoGP. The Alliance is supported by research advice from the NGO, China Blue Sustainability Institute (China Blue) (IDH 2014).  

    Water Quality: The China National Environmental Monitoring Center conducts research and analysis on environmental quality monitoring techniques and produces reports on the state of China's environment. It also provides support to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) and its supervision and management of environmental quality.

    Health Management: The responsibilities of the National Fisheries Technical Extension Center, under the MoA, include establishing a national aquatic animal disease monitoring, prevention, and control system and the development and revision of disease diagnostics (Feng 2013). 

    Disease Control: The China Institute of Veterinary Drugs Control under the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the assessment of veterinary drugs, residue testing, and the formulation and revision of regulations and standards on veterinary drugs (MoA 2009). 

    Managers' Decisions

    Water Quality: The Ministry of Agriculture has produced water quality standards for fisheries and aquaculture (GB 11607) in order to enforce the Environmental Protection Law and water discharge standards (SC/T 9101–2007) (MoA 1990)(Zhu and Dong 2013).  

    Health Management: An aquatic animal epidemic prevention system has been established under the National Fisheries Technical Extension Center (Feng 2013)(Li 2017). In 2012, the ministry introduced a National Aquatic Animal Disease Surveillance Program which included the monitoring of Streptococcal disease in Guangdong, Guangxi, and other tilapia producing areas (MoA 2012). A new aquatic disease surveillance program was introduced in 2017 focusing on eight aquatic animal diseases (MoA 2017).   

    The HTSA CoGP outlines various bio-security protocols and identifies that the key to disease prevention is maintaining ecological stability within the pond through water quality management. Polyculture with carp species is encouraged, as well as vaccination for streptococcus and Aeromonas hydrophila (HTSA 2015)(HTSA 2016). 

    Disease Control: The use of veterinary drugs (including those used in aquaculture) is governed by the Ministry of Agriculture through the State Council’s regulations on the administration of veterinary drugs (Feng 2013). Article 16 of the ministry's Order 31 - Provisions on Quality and Safety Management of Aquaculture requires that aquaculture complies with the MoA National Veterinary Regulations and “Pollution-free food guidelines for the use of fishery drugs” (NY5071-2002)(Zhu and Dong 2013). Article 18 of Order 31 requires farms to maintain records of disease, drug use, and dosage. Records should be kept for a minimum of two years post-production (MoA 2003). 

    Since 2001, the Ministry of Agriculture has conducted routine monitoring of national agriculture product quality (including aquatic products) under the Department of Technology and Quality Supervision. Monitoring focuses on chloramphenicol, malachite green, nitrofurans, sulfonamides, quinolones in tilapia and other species (Feng 2013). Article 20 of Order 31 required the MoA to implement a National Monitoring Program for Drug Residue of Aquaculture Aquatic Products (MoA 2003). 

    A Chinese Inspector Quarantine (CIQ) certificate is required for all product destined for export (Zajdband 2012)(Zhang et al. 2015). 

    Management Thresholds

    Water Quality: Article 5 of the Ministry of Agriculture Order 31 - Provisions on Quality and Safety of Aquaculture (Sept 2003) requires water to comply with its water quality standards for freshwater aquaculture/pollution-free, freshwater aquaculture water quality (NY 5051–2001) (MoA 2003). The second edition of the HTSA CoGP advocates that water quality shall meet the aquaculture water quality standard GB 11607 and NY 5051. Key pond water quality parameters for dissolved oxygen, transparency, ammonia, pH, nitrite, phosphate, alkalinity, and hardness (CaCO3) are also provided (HTSA 2015)(HTSA 2016).

    Health Management: The aquatic animal epidemic prevention system under the National Fisheries Extension System monitors 36 aquatic diseases including eight high-risk viruses (Li 2017). Under the Ministry of Agriculture's National Aquatic Animal Disease Surveillance Programme, provincial fishery departments are required to implement aquatic epidemic monitoring plans, report outbreaks, and publish early warning alerts. Eight aquatic diseases are monitored including viral necrosis (MoA 2017).   

    Disease Control: The use of nitrofurans (a family of antibiotics including furazolidone, nitrofurazone, nitrofurantoin) and malachite green (an antibacterial dye) has been banned since 2002 (Zajdband 2012). Other banned antimicrobials are norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, chloramphenicol, tylosin, bacitracin, Zinc, and olaquindox (Li 2017). 

    The HTSA CoGP states that legally permitted drugs can only be used by a licensed veterinarian (or practicing technicians with equivalent qualifications). Drugs shall be applied as per their instructions on use and dosage with harvested following the appropriate withdrawal period of > 40 days (HTSA 2015)(HTSA 2016). 

    Industry and Management Performance


    Due to the lack of information on license content and number of licensed farms, it is difficult to assess current industry compliance with license requirements. However, the HTSA has piloted the CoGP on 35 farms (HTSA 2016). There is also limited adherence to international certification standards (Zajdband 2012). 

    Current Performance

    Water Quality: Farms typically only exchange water once every production cycle (at harvest time) (Zajdband 2012). According to the latest monthly reports on waterbody quality in Hainan, river water was classified as excellent; although, small rivers in the east were classified as slightly polluted. Reservoirs were generally excellent or good, but the Hushan reservoir was classified as mildly eutrophic (DEEP, Hainan 2018).

    Health Management: Recent aquaculture disease prevention bulletins state that the average incidence of streptococcal disease in Hainan is 0.1 % with the highest being 3.1%. The highest mortality rate recorded for this disease was 20%. The main areas affected were Ding, Baisha, and other tilapia farms (HMFD 2017).  The average incidence of gill mildew disease was 0.35%, with the highest mortality rate being 60% (HMFD, 2018). The main areas affected were Ding, Wenchang, and other tilapia farms (HMFD 2018). 

    At the national level, there are concerns regarding the establishment of Lo Wu or Tilapia Lake Virus TiLV), which is a disease that has caused 90% mortality rate in other tilapia producing countries. The PRC is actively monitoring for this disease (FAO 2017). Several approved fish vaccines have been developed including those against motile aeromonads septicemia in freshwater fish (Li 2017). 

    Disease Control: There is limited public information available concerning chemical use in Hainan or the PRC. However, due to stricter regulations and high development costs, no new antimicrobials for aquaculture have been introduced in the PRC in the last ten years (except herbal treatments) (Li 2017). In 2017, the European Commission (EC) Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) portal reported one incident (classified as not serious) when the antibiotic sulfadiazine exceeded maximum residue levels (MRL) in frozen tilapia product from China (European Commission 2018). There was also one incident of border rejection due to the presence of nitrofuran in 2016 (classified as serious). For both, the province of origin is not identified.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued an import alert concerning multiple international suppliers who are subject to a Detention Without Physical Examination due to the historic use of unapproved drugs (including one instance of tilapia product from Hainan – malachite green in 2013) (FDA 2018). 

    Trends in Performance

    Water Quality: A study into the nutrient dynamics of eastern Hainan by Li et al (2014) revealed that riverine inputs and aquaculture effluents were the major sources of nutrients (Nitrogen and Phosphorus compounds) on the island’s east coast. Anthropogenic activities such as agriculture, aquaculture, and deforestation were identified as the most likely sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen; although, it was concluded that more research and data concerning aquaculture and its impacts was required (Li et al. 2014).  

    Health Management: A review of the monthly aquaculture disease prevention bulletins from 2012-2017 reveals the presence of various diseases including streptococcal disease, bacterial septicemia, rotifer disease, gill-rot disease, gill mildew disease, hemorrhagic disease, carborneosis, Pseudomonas and unknown diseases. Information on the average incidence, average mortality, and maximum mortality are also provided (HFMD 2013)(HFMD 2014)(HMFD 2012)(HMFD 2013)(HMFD 2015)(HMFD 2016). 

    At the national level, the main diseases of concern nationwide are Streptococcus agalactiae (affecting young tilapias from 100-200 grams) and hepatobiliary syndrome (Zhao, 2011). Other diseases include tail-rot disease in juvenile tilapia caused by Aeromonas sobria and fulminant hemorrhagic disease in hybrid tilapia (Zajdband 2012). 

    Disease Control: According to a 2012 Seafood watch report focused on tilapia production at the national level, there is evidence that banned or illegal chemicals such as antibiotics, malachite green, and the hormone methyltestosterone are still used (Zajdband 2012). 

    From 2010 – 2014, the EC RASFF portal recorded two notifications concerning products exceeding the MRL of permitted antibiotics (for the use of sulfonamide) and one instance of the detection of the prohibited substance (leucomalachite green) in tilapia products from China. The province of origin of these notifications is not identified. In a couple of instances, the presence of improper health certificates was identified. Only one of the above notifications was classified as serious (European Commission 2018). 

    Improvement Plans

    Water Quality: The 13th FYP (2016-2020) will focus on reducing water pollution and intends to reduce CoD and NH3 pollution over the plan’s timeframe. This will be achieved by the construction of urban sewage treatment and support facilities, urban stormwater capture and recycling, and the reduction of waste pollutants (Hsu et al. 2017). In 2015, China’s State Council published an Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution (the Water Ten Plan); this roadmap outlines ten general measures and 38 sub-measures and deadlines for tackling water pollution as well as the responsible government department (Hsu et al. 2017). 

    Health Management: No information available.

    Disease Control: The revised Food Safety Law (2015) establishes a food safety monitoring system for food-borne diseases, contamination and other food-related hazards (FAO 2015). 


    Regulatory Framework

    The regulatory system addresses risks to and from aquaculture through a zonal approach to siting, licensing, and production management.

    Since 2002, the Ministry of Agriculture has been responsible for a nationwide aquaculture licensing system; however, information on the procedure and requirements (including the number of licenses awarded) is not publicly available. There is no evidence of a national or provincial aquaculture management plan. The Environmental Impact Assessment Law (2002) requires an EIA for government plans for the development of agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, water conservation and natural resources (Phillips et al., P. G. White and Yamamoto, others 2009). 

    In 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice to all provinces regarding a code of practice for the creation of aquaculture watershed plans - stating that it was necessary to plan and allocate aquaculture production based on good science and identify aquaculture areas in order to protect the environment and the rights & interests of other resource users (MoA 2016).

    According to the MEP, EIAs are required for farms larger than about 35 ha (MEP 2017). Under the 13th FYP – 2016-2020, the government plans to establish thousands of provincial-level aquaculture demonstration zones, which will account for 65% of national aquaculture production by 2020 (Mao 2017).

    The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) is responsible for EIAs. The results of recent EIAs are available in Chinese via the MEP website, including the approval of project announcements. Although it is not clear whether this information includes enforcement actions and it appears to focus on construction and largescale development projects (MEP 2017). License outcomes are not available.

    Organized Producers Following Code of Good Practice

    The presence of an active producer organization representative of the whole industry and establishment of a Code of Good Practice.

    The HTSA is the first independent, industry-led, aquaculture producer association (of any species) to promote sustainable seafood production in the PRC (HTSA 2014). The HTSA has around 100 members and has established a CoGP, now in its second edition (HTSA 2016). The HTSA produces an annual report which reports on progress in implementing the CoGP (HTSA 2016). Current member compliance with the first edition of the CoGP is 100% (HTSA 2016)The HTSA website provides additional details of partners/members (HTSA 2014). 

    The HTSA collaborates with multiple partners including industry farmers, research institutes, foreign buyers, and retailers, as well as third-party organizations (HTSA 2014). The HTSA website provides details of partners/members, who include both small independent farmers, larger companies, fry and fingerling producers, middlemen and processors (HTSA 2014). The HTSA’s CoGP includes best management practices for farm-level practices and encourages inter-farm cooperation and information sharing (including the notification of disease outbreaks within 24 hours) (HTSA 2015)(HTSA 2016). Current member compliance with the first edition of the CoGP is 100% (HTSA 2016). The second edition of the CoGP has been applied to around 35 pilot farms in Hainan (HTSA 2016). However, the percentage of producers in Hainan who are HTSA members is not known.

    HTSA membership rules and regulations have been published and are available via their website (HTSA 2014).  Under the HTSA charter, a member must uphold the HTSA constitution, which involves the creation of a regional brand of tilapia programs and systems, including the development of zonal operations to establish a benchmark for regional production management (HTSA 2014). There are two kinds of membership, advanced and observation, with advanced requiring members to adhere to the CoGP (HTSA 2014). The HTSA also plans to distribute the CoGP to all farmers in Hainan as a voluntary standard (HTSA 2014). The annual report contains details of third-party water & fish quality tests for 35 pilot farms by Hainan Willtest Technology Co. Ltd, which found no violations of the national standard in all water and fish samples in 2015 (HTSA 2016).

    Water Quality Management

    The impact of aquaculture on the quality of public water resources is managed.

    Weekly river & monthly surface water quality information is available from Hainan’s Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection (DEEP, Hainan 2018)(DEEP, Hainan 2018)(DEEP, Hainan 2018). Future actions for HTSA include conducting full carrying capacity assessments (Immink et al. 2017). 

    Article 5 of the MoA’s Order 31 - Provisions on Quality and Safety of Aquaculture (Sept 2003) requires water to comply with water quality standards for freshwater aquaculture/ pollution-free food freshwater aquaculture water quality (NY 5051–2001) (MoA 2003). The HTSA CoGP states that water quality shall meet the aquaculture water quality standard GB 11607 and NY 5051 (HTSA 2015)(HTSA 2016). Key pond water quality parameters for dissolved oxygen (DO), transparency, ammonia, pH, nitrite, phosphate, alkalinity and hardness (both CaCO3) are provided, but these do not appear to be based on the carrying capacity of water bodies. 

    The Ministry of Agriculture's Order 31 - Provisions on Quality and Safety of Aquaculture require immediate corrective measures when water quality does not meet published standards (MoA 2003). Farms following the CoGP in Hainan must adhere to these standards (HTSA 2015)(HTSA 2016). Currently, 100% of HTSA farms follow the first version of the CoGP (HTSA 2016). Meanwhile, 35 pilot farms were recently audited by Hainan Willtest Technology Co. Ltd, which found no violations of the national standard in all water and fish samples (HTSA 2016).

    HTSA also publish quarterly water quality reports for farms under the pilot farm scheme (HTSA 2017). 

    Disease Impact and Risk Reduction

    Industry is protected from catastrophic losses through best practice disease management on farm and at the zone level.

    Monthly disease bulletins for Hainan are available from the HMFD website produced by the Hainan Institute of Marine and Fisheries. These identify the type of disease, average incidence, and details of the maximum recorded mortality (HFMD 2013)(HFMD 2014)(HMFD 2012)(HMFD 2013)(HMFD 2015)(HMFD 2016)(HMFD 2017). The number of notifiable disease outbreaks is available at the national level from the OIE’s WAHIS database for the period 2005-2013 (World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) 2017).   

    Regulations concerning the import and export of aquatic seed are addressed by Order No. 46 of the People's Republic of China (HMFD 2008). Farm-level biosecurity and disease treatment measures/limits are identifiable through the industry’s CoGP and Ministry of Agriculture guidelines for the use of fishery drugs (Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance 2016)(MoA 2003).

    According to Feng (2013) and Li (2017) a coordinated aquatic animal epidemic prevention system has been introduced under the National Fisheries Technology Extension Center (Feng 2013)(Li 2017). 

    HTSA’s CoGP outlines various bio-security protocols that focus on disease prevention and maintaining ecological stability within the pond through water quality management and coordination and sharing of information between farmers in case of disease outbreaks (HTSA 2015)(HTSA 2016).

    The PRC disease management approach includes provincial aquatic animal disease control centers and multiple county aquatic animal disease prevention stations nationwide (Feng 2013). However, there is no publicly available evidence of penalties or corrective measures for failing to report disease outbreaks or non-compliance with control measures. 

    According to the latest monthly disease bulletins, the main areas affected by diseases were Baisha, Ding, Wenchang counties. This indicates that more than one area is affected and that prevalence is high (HMFD 2017)(HMFD 2018). The average overall mortality rate is not available, but the highest mortality rate at individual sites is stated as 20% for streptococcal disease and 60% for gill mildew disease (HMFD 2017)(HMFD 2018). Multiple diseases are reported suggesting a high frequency of outbreaks (HMFD 2012)(HMFD 2013)(HMFD 2015)(HMFD 2016)(HMFD 2017)(HMFD 2018). 

    Marine Feed Ingredient Management

    The fishmeal and oil in aquaculture feed is sourced from well managed or improving fisheries.

    Multiple GAA BAP certified feed mills supplying feed to tilapia farms in China are identifiable, including those in Hainan (GAA 2017).

    Major feed companies such as Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CP) and Tongwei are also identifiable. The latter also has an agreement with BioMar to produce and supply feed to Chinese farmers (BioMar 2015).

    BioMar identifies its source fisheries and publicly report on its improvement processes in annual sustainability reports (BioMar 2016)(BioMar 2017). It is also a member of the Ocean Disclosure Project (ODP) which identifies five management scores for each source fishery and any associated Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) (SFP 2017).

    Some feed suppliers have published commitments to improving marine feed source ingredients and report progress against their commitments publically through their annual sustainability reports (BioMar 2016)(BioMar 2017)(CP 2016). 


    To see data for Production, please view this site on a desktop.
    To see data for Water Quality Monitoring, please view this site on a desktop.
    No data available for Disease Reporting
    No data available for Disease Reporting
    Data Notes

    Production data are available from the Hainan Marine and Fishery Department (HMFD 2017). 

    Number of disease events reported to the regulatory body - although the aquaculture disease bulletins provide information of disease type, incidence, and maximum mortality, they do not provide information on the number of outbreaks (HMFD 2017)(HMFD 2018). 

    Number of notifiable disease events reported to OIE - The number of disease outbreaks is only available at the national level. There are no diseases listed that are applicable to tilapia (World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) 2017). 

    Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs)


    Access AIP Public Report

    Evaluation Start Date: 9 Mar 2018


    The core activities of the AIP are to:

    • Formulate and implement a CoGP
    • Develop local technicians network and training
    • Develop a Pilot Farm Network
    • Promote better practices and Certifications
    • Improve communication and information sharing
    • Stakeholder cooperation

    AIP Development
    Jan 11
    AIP Launch
    Dec 15
    Dec 15
    AIP Implementation
    Dec 15
    Improvements in Aquaculture Management Practices
    Jan 16
    Improvements on the Water
    Verifiable improvement on the water

    Certifications & Codes of Good Practice

    Certified Farms

    To see data for Certified Farms, please view this site on a desktop.

    Certified Production

    To see data for Certified Production, please view this site on a desktop.

    Data Notes

    Certified Farms

    The information presented here is based on publicly available information from the respective certification websites. The unit of certification varies between the different Certification schemes.

    • For ASC,  we report only the number of farms that are listed as certified on their website. We do not include farms that are in assessment.
    • For BAP, we report only the farms that are certified. We do not include hatcheries, processing facilities, or farms in the iBAP program.
    • For GlobalG.A.P., we report the number of fish farming companies that are certified. The number of farms operated by companies certified by GlobalG.A.P is not publicly available. We do not include certified companies that only operate hatcheries. 

    Production Volume

    • The ASC does publish certified production volume by country, but data is not available at the province/state level. Information presented here is manually compiled from publicly available certification audits on a semi-annual basis.
    •  Certified production volume data is not publicly available from BAP or GlobalG.A.P.



    Hainan province is an island province located in the South China Sea. The island is part of the PRC's tropical/sub-tropical region and is home to multiple nature reserves (both terrestrial and marine) as well as many rare or endangered plant and animal species. Agriculture is the major land use on the island (Li et al. 2014). The island has a mountainous inland and a coastal plain. Most of the PRC's coral reefs are found in Hainan. Coastal regions also include mangrove forests and seagrass beds (Li et al. 2014)

    Biology of farmed stock

    Tilapia production is fully independent of wild stocks with all fingerlings provided by hatcheries and domesticated broodstock (Zajdband 2012). The main strains are Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) strains of Nile tilapia (O. niloticus), the hybrids of blue tilapia × Nile tilapia (Ao-ni; O. aureus  × O. niloticus) and red tilapia (O. mossambicus × O. niloticus (Zhang et al. 2015). Since the first GIFT strain of Nile tilapia was introduced in 1994 more than nine generations have been produced. The latest strain, known as "new GIFT", has been introduced across China. Combined with the production of all male tilapia, these strains have helped boost production (Zhang et al. 2015)

    Fish farming history

    Tilapia farming in the PRC dates back to the 1960's; however, its introduction was originally considered unsuccessful (Lai and Yang 2008). Production expanded rapidly in the 1980's following the introduction of new strains, improvements in nursing and grow-out technologies, and the introduction of all-male production (Lai and Yang 2008).  Production continues to increase with Lai and Yang (2008) reporting an annual growth rate of 25%, and Zhang et al (2015) indicating that it could be as high as 50% (Lai and Yang 2008)(Zhang et al. 2015). The PRC is the largest producer of tilapia worldwide (FAO 2010). Due to its warmer climate, the major tilapia production areas are located in the south of the country (80-90% of production) - in provinces such as Guangdong, Hainan, and Guanxi - where year-round farming is possible (Zajdband 2012)(Zhang et al. 2015). 

    Hainan accounts for around 20% of national production (Zhao 2011). However, tilapia production also takes place in north China in heated waters supplied by electric power plants (Zajdband 2012). Production can be classified into two categories: 1) integrated, and 2) specialized systems. Integrated systems are generally small to medium size, and use on-farm wastes such as pig manure to fertilize fish ponds. These farms cannot obtain CIQ certification and do not produce product destined for export. Specialized systems are generally export-focused and are subject to CIQ certification requirements (CIQS 2008). 

    One further type of system is tilapia farming in reservoirs built for rice farms, which is typically found in Guangdong and Hainan (Zajdband 2012). The region has recently experienced climatic extremes, such as drought and colder than average winter temperatures, which adversely impact production.

    Laws and Institutions

    Legislation - Responsible Institution - Relevant activities

    The Fisheries Act/Law, 1986, 2000, amended 2004 - Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress  - To strengthen fisheries production, development and fishery resources. The state shall focus on the development of fish farming and breeding. 

    Fisheries Law Enforcement Rules (1987) - Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries - Regulations for the implementation of the Fisheries Law (above).

    The Land Management Act/Law (1995) - Ministry of Land and Resources -  Land ownership, use, and planning. State master plans for land use (agriculture – including aquaculture, construction, and unused land). Individual land use rights for agriculture, forestry and fishery production.  

    The Water Resources Act/Law (1988, 2002) - Ministry of Water Resources - The development, use, conservation, conservation, distribution and management of water resources.

    The Environmental Protection Act/Law (1989) amended 2014 - The National Environmental Protection Agency, now the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP)  - Evaluation and impact reports of various projects (including large aquaculture enterprises). 

    The Environmental Impact Assessment Act/Law (2002) - MEP - Extends EIA requirements from individual projects to government development plans - including agriculture, aquaculture, livestock, forestry, water and natural resources.

    Order 31 - Provisions on Quality and Safety Management (2003)   - MoA -   To improve the quality and safety of aquaculture products, protect the environment and promote the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry.

    The Animal and Plant Entry and Exit Quarantine Act/Law (1991) - Individual states’ Department of Commodity Inspection - To prevent the spread of infectious or parasitic diseases from China, protect agriculture, forestry, livestock and fishery production, human health, and promote trade.

    Regulations on Administration of Veterinary Drugs (2004) - MoA - The registration, manufacture, distribution, import, and export, use, supervision and administration of veterinary drugs and vaccines (including those used in aquaculture).

    The Animal Disease Act/Law (1997) amended in 2008 MoA - Prevention of animal disease, control measures, inspection, and staff responsibilities.

    The Food Safety Law (2015) - MoA - To ensure food safety and protect the physical health and public safety. 

    Law on Quality and Safety of Agricultural Products (2006) - MoA - 

    Management Timetable

    It is expected that the Hainan government will start issuing aquaculture licenses to existing farms based on the new ecological red-line regulations (HMFD 2016)(HMFD 2016). However, this process is still under development.



    • Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China (MoA)-
      • Bureau of Fisheries
      • Veterinary Bureau
      • Agricultural Products Processing Bureau
    • Ministry of Land Resources of the People's Republic of China (MoLR)
    • Ministry of Water Resources of the People's Republic of China (MoWR)
    • Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China (MEP)
    • China National Environmental Monitoring Center (CNEMC)

    Producer Associations

    • Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance
    • China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA)


    • China Blue Sustainability Institute (China Blue)


    • China Academy of Fishery Sciences 
    • The Chinese Academy of Sciences




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      Tilapia - China, Hainan

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