Big Fish, Big Business – China’s Tilapia
Seafood enthusiasts enjoy a wide selection of delicacies from all around the world – from lobsters and oysters to salmon and tuna, just to name a few. In fact, over half of the seafood we eat comes from fish farming, also known as aquaculture.
If you eat fish, you have probably already tried tilapia, since it’s the second-largest species grown in aquaculture, and the most widely grown fish on earth. Its impressive nutrition profile and mild taste makes this fish a favorite amongst many worldwide.
Although tilapia is native to Africa, its surge in popularity has led to the development of commercial tilapia farms across the globe. Fast forward to the 21st century, tilapia is now a staple in many parts of the world with over 100 nations producing the farm-raised fish.
China’s convenient sea transportation and rich aquatic resources make the country one of largest contributors to global aquaculture and a critical player in the tilapia industry, manufacturing over 1.5 million tons to large markets in the US, South America, and Canada.
Tilapia culture in China began in the early 1960s in China’s southernmost province of Hainan, and quickly spread to neighboring provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, and Guangxi, which are all located in tropical or sub-tropical regions with warm climate and rich rainfall, where the fish are supplied all year round. Today, tilapia is among the top six cultured freshwater species in China and as a result, tilapia farming is conducted on large scales across the country to cater to the demand of this popular seafood.
The development of aquaculture along with the massive increase of tilapia production in South China has made it necessary to transport the fish between farms, countries, and continents. South China’s booming refrigerated market, covering over 30 inland ports, recently increased by 10%. ZIM South China also reached new heights, with a 20% growth in the refrigerated sector.
Recent global market disruptions posed challenges for producers of aquatic products in China. The country’s growing tilapia industry has shifted due to strict regulations, import measures and sudden inspections of commodities entering various destinations.
The tilapia industry has also evolved as new consumers are more demanding of high-quality goods and rich flavors. Since tilapia is a tropical fish with strict temperature demands of between 25-30℃, it is essential to maintain the freezing chain when handling the cargo to ensure the preservation of its storage life and the quality of the fish. Additionally, factories usually require one or two weeks in advance for the full preparation of the cargo at the warehouse, prior to stuffing the container.
ZIM South China’s dedicated Reefer Sales and Customer Service teams offer an efficient solution when it comes to transporting sensitive cargo, with multiple schedules reaching various global destinations to meet the demand of this export commodity. Their ability to evolve with changes in market demands, and prepare well in advance certainly benefits customers, who can always expect a fast, reliable response from start to finish, whether by personal guidance or clear instructions regarding their booking or time sensitive deliveries. This is all to ensure that customers in both origin and end destinations enjoy reliable and safe transport of tilapia.