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.
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).