Global consumption of seafood and associated trade volumes have risen dramatically over the last decade due to rising population, growing affluence and changing eating habits. Today more than half of all seafood is internationally traded with net transfers from developing to developed countries.
Tilapia is a worldwide fish of great commercial importance. In China, tilapia is an important species with annual production of more than 1.2 million tons, which accounted for about 45% of the total tilapia production in the world in 2008. Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi provinces ranked top three in annual production in China. However, with over two decades of rapid growth, tilapia aquaculture in China has been facing many challenges in the past years.
To investigate the sustainability problems, a large scale survey was carried out through integrated top–down and bottom–up approaches. Secondary statistic data were collected at national and district level, and farm data were collected by field visit. Participation and perspectives from different local stakeholders along the value chain were emphasized to contextualize and understand sustainability constraints. Through these activities, we summarized that the sustaining development of the tilapia industry depends on the market price of products, disease control, water quality, climate, seed supply and seed quality.