The scale of Chinese state aid to its long-distance fisheries sector extends well beyond fuel subsidies to cheap loans, training, and even wage supports, according to remarks by a fisheries official who heads a government-funded umbrella body promoting fishing firms operating in international waters.
“The scale of Fujian’s fleet is increasing now in three seas and 20 counties,” Chen Ze Luan, president of the Fujian Yuan Yang (Long Distance Fishing) Association, said.
This expansion has been helped by 2014 provincial policies which allow for subsidised freight fees, subsidized loans, free training, subsidized wages and ‘optimized’ customs procedures, Chen said.
Chen was speaking at the Fuzhou Mawei Industrial Park where Hong Dong Yuan Yang Fishing Co Ltd was marking the unloading of a large cargo of octopus, squid, skate, and turbot from its base in Mauritania.
“We are the number-one province in China for overseas bases. We have nine bases [overseas],” he said. Those bases are located in ports in Africa, Southeast Asia, and in the Pacific islands.
In 2011, Hong Dong invested USD 100 million (EUR 87.8 million) in a base in Mauritania. That investment has since been producing revenues of USD 60 million (EUR 52.7 million) per year, according to Chen. He added that in 2016 Fujian invested CNY 1.52 billion (USD 223.4 million, EUR 196.1 million) and started to build or overhaul 127 ships, adding to its 540 already in service. The province is also building two new cold-chain facilities to handle more seafood caught on the high seas.
Gao Fu Mao, Contributing Editor reporting from Beijing, China.