China's Changing Tides: Shifting Consumption and Trade Position of Chinese Seafood

China’s domestic seafood supply is set to stagnate, while demand continues to rise. This will bring opportunities for global companies, such as new seafood consumers and new east-west partnerships.

Picture of varied seafood on a plate

Report summary

China will strongly influence the global seafood industry for at least the next decade. China is the leading seafood nation, with the highest consumption, production, and export rates. 

However, a decreasing labour force, increasing disease and pollution pressure, and the recent environmental regulations have started to constrain the supply of seafood. China currently has a high trade surplus in aquatic products—more than USD 10 billion; however, we expect China’s net seafood trade position to weaken in the next decade due to changes in supply and demand.

“The increasing Chinese demand for seafood is generally a positive driver for the global seafood sector,” according to Gorjan Nikolik, Senior Analyst – Animal Protein. “Seafood-exporting industries globally will look to the Chinese market for new consumers, particularly for high-value fish and crustaceans, as well as new east-west partnerships.”

However, we don’t expect a high number of Chinese inbound and outbound M&A activities to happen in the short term due to high value expectations for Chinese seafood companies and the fragmented structure of the Chinese seafood industry.