Overfishing in China

Hi everyone. This is Ping’s ecological thinking. Most of people loves seafood-Crab, fish, mussel, prawn, and they are delicious. One of my friend, her city is near China South Sea. She told me, they have less seafood than before, and the price is getting higher even for the local people. I just realized in China, we are facing the over fishing problems with less marine fisheries. And I never think about it could be happened. Because there is 70% Earth surface is covered by ocean, and only has 30% area covered by land. I thought there are a lot of marine resource we can use for a long time. We have thousands fishing history, and it never had its problems before. So what is reason cause the marine fisheries overfishing in China, and how can we solve this problem in ecological way. 

What is Overfishing?

WWF defines overfishing as,

“Overfishing occurs when more fish are caught than the population can replace through natural reproduction. Gathering as many fish as possible may seem like a profitable practice, but overfishing has serious consequences. The results not only affect the balance of life in the oceans, but also the social and economic well-being of the coastal communities who depend on fish for their way of life.” 

Fishing in China

China is the top fishing Country in the world and has large marine resources available in its own ocean area. The Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea span from sub-tropical to temperate zones with a total sea area of 3.54 million square kilometers. There are about 3000 marine species in the seas surrounding China offering more than 150 commercial species. From now, we know China has a lot of marine resoures and large ocean area. Why it has overfishing problems? First, from the product stage, let’s see, how much aquatic products China supply?y5600e29


Souce from: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture

From the graph, we can see it has large incensement since 1980. According to the statistics in 1998, 38.3% of China’s total marines fisheries is from aquatic products, the number of aquatic products captured is about 16% of total world aquatic products. After 1990s, it keeps 17.5% annual increasement, which is 11 times to the average world aquatic product capture incensement. Therefore, we know China produces a lot of aquctic products with annual increament. What is reason makes the fisherman fishing more fish? let’s see changs of China during this period.

Population and Economy


Source from: Urbanstanding Modern China

china 5

Source from: Conversable Economist

We know that China is during high speed development. China has dramatically increasing after 1980. After 1980 China has better economic with higher population, which means everyone has better life. Everyone is trying to get better quality of life. As I mentioned before, Before 1978, the diversity and size of China’s fish species were steady, but since the economic reforms took place, both have been steadily decreasing. High population and better economy environment has increase the demand on the seafood. To be more specific, let’s see the changes of China coastal cities. Between 1950 and the 1978 reforms, China’s coastal GDP grew annually by around $2.2 billion. Between 1978 and 2010, China’s coastal GDP increased by over two orders of magnitude with the country’s coastal GDP contribution rising from 50 percent of the total to 60 percent. China’s coastal population also increased from 260 million in 1954 to 400 million in 1978, and to 590 million in 2010. Qiang He, a marine ecologist from Beijing Normal University, he published a report in the journal Scientific Reports

“Our paper shows that economic growth, is major cause of China’s coastal ecosystem changes,”

From these information, we know the customers are increaing demand on seafood, they are willing to pay more money to get high quality of seafood. That is one of reason why fisherman is fishing more fish.  At the following contents, I would like to tell your guys the other reasons caused the overfishing in China. The more factors we find, the more things we know about overfishing. We can find the better solution to solve overfishing problem relate to these factor. it is easier to find the balance between economy and fishing, find the relationship between human and nature. So we can put our ecological thinking into the project, and solve it with the best method. That is reason why i want expain more reasons about the overfishing.

Damage fishing methods and pollution

It is commonly in China using trawl and set nets, which both are very damaging to ecosystems. The method of trawling fishing drags large nets accross the ocean floor, get every fish in their path. More than half of a trawler’s catch can be bycatch-not the harvested target. it breaks the food chain and destroy the ecosystem of ocean. With the developing of China economy, there are large-scale reclamation of the sea, overfishing, large amounts of water water and sewage, the development of offshore oil and gas, and intensive transportation are major causes of damage to the offshore environment. With such high-intensity human activities have led to a serious decline in marine resources.

Lack of marine resouce Knowledge

Most of fishing industry or fisherman, they don’t have much knowledge about the marine resources. They are lack of knowledge regarding fish populations and quotas in a universal standard. Most areas in the world all have the same problems. They don’t know about the ecology system, and there is not limited on the number of aquatic products. They just catch fish as much as they can. Fish are being caught too young limiting chances for population regrowth and replenishment of fish stocks. As a result, the fish that are being caught are smaller necessitating a greater haul thus reducing the population even further.

Fisheries Subsidies In China

“Any use of government funds to specifically help the fishing industry. The could be anything from a cash payment, to tax breaks to free services, like building a port or infrastructure.” With Chinese policy support, it makes Chinese fisherman can continue to fish which keeps increasing the pressure on the life cycle of fisheries. About 95 percent of China’s fishery subsidies were harmful to sustainability. it is relate to government policy in the fishing. I will talk about more about fisheries subsidies in my vlog. 

Other Reasons

Although, Chinese government has control the fisherman fishing area, it still has some illegal fishing in China. Some fishing is unreported, and Chinese government is hard to track. In the whole world, it only has about 1.5% of oceans have been declared protective areas. Same for China, it is hard for Chinese government to protect whole fishing area. The unprotected areas are open to fisherman, which it has high probability been harmed by fisherman.

Effects of Overfishing

Financial losses

In China, fish is an important component of local diets. It is also an important source of money in terms of seafood exports. Millions of people are living rely on fishing industry. If fisherman reduce fishing products, which means they get less money, and the fish industry will get less profit with less fish. The whole economy cycle will be broken. They are many fishing cities in China. The fish is their primary resource for food. The growth of overfishing has caused serious threat to their daily life.

Ecosystem changes

Overfishing can have an adverse effect on marine biodiversity. Every single aquatic plant and animal has a role to play when it comes to balancing the ecology. Overfishing can destroy the environment and marine ecology and completely disrupt the food chain. The South China Sea is a major source of yellowfin tuna, when they are removed from the areas they live in, it means that sea creature further down the food chain are negatively impacted. Therefore, if we overfishing any fish species at any level, it will have a bad effect on all ocean life cycle.


Relate to the ecological principle, there is one called self-design. It is the application of self-organization in the design of ecosystems. Nature is one of best ecosystem designer. We can use it in the overfishing problem, and it is what Chinese government did. Since the 1990s, Beijing has implemented an annual summer moratorium on fishing in the South China Sea, and Chinese government decided to cut back on the size of the world’s largest fishing fleet to protect its stocks. On this way, Chines government reduces the human activities, and let the ocean recover the damage and reproduce more fish. It reduces  pressure on overfishing problem.

One of main reason i mentioned before is there is not rules on the fisherman and fishing, which results in fisherman fishing as much as they can and high damaging on ecosystem. Therefore, Chinese government banned high damaged fishing tools and methods, and gives various stardards about fishing tools with different size of fish.

Another way that chinese government are trying to change the overfishing problem is by working with retailers to educate them on ways to purchase their seafood from sustaiable fisheries.

What I am thinking?

From the ecological model, we are trying to find the relationship between human and nature.

There is a relationship between the abundance of fish in an ecosystem and fishing pressure, sustainable yield, profit, and ecosystem impact. When there is little or no fishing, there is little sustainable yield and precious little profit. As fishing pressure keeps increasing, first the profit peaks and then at higher fishing pressure the sustainable yield peaks. As fishing pressure further increases, both profits and sustainable yield decline. Why not we find the peak where the fisherman can get maximum profit with sustainable yield. Therefore, we can get maximum fisheries while we still can protect the ecosystem of the ocean. 

There is one more thing I am really interested. Since 2002, China has been the world largest exporter of fish and fish prodcuts. In 2005, China was the sixth largest importer of fish and fish products in the world, with imports totaling US$4.0 billion. So what I am thinking is the main reason cause overfishing in China is economy. The current aquatic production is enough for chinese people. The fisherman keep overfishing, because they want to get more profit, and also the fish industries can get more profit, chinese governmnet can get more tax from fisherman and fishing industry. I think that is main reason caused China overfishing problems, and I am sure it happens to every fishing countries as well. Therefore, we should try to find the relationship between economy and ecosystem.

The solution- world wide catch shares

Catch shares is a system of fishing management that is proven to allow fish stocks to replenish, while saving the livelihoods of fishing communities by preventing a sudden collapse. A total allowable catch is established, using scientific data about the health of fish stocks and the environment in a certain area, and catch shares are licensed out to each fishing business telling them exactly how much of each seafood species they’re allowed to catch. Through this catch share system, fisherman get higher profit, 100% of fishing business, they don’t need to go over the catch limits to get the same profit as before, and they actually getting higher profits in such fishing management system.

The most of solutions I mentioned is all relate to government policy. Without government support, it is hard to reduce overfishing In China. There is one which I mentioned before is fisheries subsidies. I will share my ideas about the fisheries subsidies, and how do we solve the overfishing problem through the policy about the fisheries subsidies in my vlog. If you have any other ideas about overfishing, leave your comments so we discuss more about overfishing. Thanks!







Renewable Energy

Hello, everyone. Today, I want to share my ideas about the ecological engineering. The ecological engineering is the design of sustainable systems, consistent with ecological principles, which integrate human society with its natural environment of the benefit of both. The complexity and diversity of natural systems cause a high degree of spatial variability, it made me thinking about when we do a project design in an area, what natural resources it has in that certain area. Can we use that resources to have better design with destroy the local natural systemIt is related to questions-

  1. What is here?
  2. What will nature permit us to do here?
  3. What will nature help us to do here?

From the three questions made thinking about the energy. Because every city has its typical weather and its special natural resource. For example, windy city has more wind power can be used, more sunshine city has more solar energy can be used. City close to rivers, lakes and ocean, has more hydro power can be used. However, what is the most commonly used energy in our cities? Have we take the advantage of our local natural resources to make city better?

To find the answers of these questions, I want to start with the current problem we have in our society.

Problem: Global warming

Global warming has become an issue of global concern. It is due to continuous accumulation of greenhouse effect, resulting in unbalanced energy absorption and emission from the earth’s gas system. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas, which is released through human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels, as well as natural processes such as respiration and volcanic eruptions.





source from: Global Climate Change vital signs of the planet

From these, we know that main reason causes the global warming is due to human activities which consume too much natural resources. It makes me think what are we using so much natural resource for? Where is so much carbon dioxide emissions coming from?


In our daily life, energy is everywhere, car, ships, airplanes, electricity. Every city need energy to support their daily work. The problem is energy generation is the main reason cause of air pollution and the leading cause of global warming emissions. Can you image our life without these energies?

The problem of the Energy

With growing human population, it needs more natural resources to meets the needs of human. As we all known, the resources of our planet are finite. Most of concerns in society is that we are now running out of energy in the future. In the past, we didn’t pay attention to natural environment, which it currently leads to degraded and unstable ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, resource depletion, increasing pollution and climate change. After first industrial revolution, we used much more natural resource with growing population and increasing resource consumption, which is exceeds the regenerative capacity of Earth.

Therefore, we know the energy is important, we cannot live without energy, however, it needs a lot of natural resources to provide energy we need. It comes with air pollution and climate change. Based on these problems, scientists find a way to solve these problems, which is get clean renewable energy sources to reduce the needs of high polluted energy sources.

While to use the renewable energy to replace the dirty energy, we need to find out what is most of dirty energy used for.

Energy distribution

Source from: Enerdata

the graphs above show, global energy consumption distribution from 1990 to 2016. From the graph we know that three main energy we used are oil, coal and gas.

Next I am going to use America as an example. Let us see how the United States, which is a developed country and high-tech center, uses these resources.

As we all know, Petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power are primary energy sources. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated from primary energy sources. (U.S. Energy Facts Explained)


From the graph, we can it has same distriuction of the world energy distribution, which use oil, gas and coal as three main natural resources to produce energy.

Natural resources to produce energy

In 2016, the total of energy consumed can be divided into 5 sectors were (U.S. Energy Facts Explained):

  1. Electric power—39%
  2. Transportation—29%
  3. Industrial—22%
  4. Residential—6%
  5. Commercial—4%

The electric power generated most of electricity and the other four sectors works based the electricity power. Therefore, we know the electricity power is most important energy to  a country, and they use different types of natural sources to produce electrical power.


Then what kind of sources American use to produce electric power? How much it used to another sector. For example, the renewable energy there is 55% used for electric power, however, it only has 8% used for residential and commercial. Although it has different distribution of energy consumption, I find most of energy are used for electric power and transportation. Therefore, I am going to focus on more about electric power and transportation, which caused most of energy consumed.

Renewable energy

Now, we know  the most of natural resources are used for electri power and transportation. At this stage, coupled with concerns over clmiate change, makes it even more obvious that the electricity generation industry and transport industry must move away from dirty energy and towads renewables once and for all.


Renewable energy is produced using natural resources that are constantly replaced and never run out. On the other hand, we should explore more renewable energy actively such as solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, biological energy, etc

I am not going to discuss every renewable energy, just like the primary energy. What I am interested is what is the main energy cause the climate change and air pollution, and find the best renewable energy to replace it? Therefore I am going pick couple of most popular renewable energy we currently used.


Hydroelectricity is electricity produced from hydropower. In 2015 hydropower generated 16.6% of the world’s total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity and was expected to increase about 3.1% each year for the next 25 years. (from wiki)

Nine of the ten largest power plants in the world are hydro, using dams on rivers. China’s Three Gorges leads with 22.5 GWe, then Itaipu in Brazil with 14 GWe and Xiluodu in China, 13.9 GWe. The main advantage of hydro power, it can use their capacity to reduce river high peak flow in the rainfall days, which can prevent the flood at the local area. In 2012, the global hydropower generation increased by 4.3, which was higher than the historical average. The net growth of power generation all came from China, which accounted for 100% of the annual growth of global hydropower, which was the record of the single largest annual increase of single

As I mentioned before, the dydroelectricity is build base on local condition. It is easy to knwo that it has to be built on the rivers. therefore, this energy is only suit for the city who has rivers. These cities who use coal, gas, oil to produce electric, it can change to hydroelectricity.

wind Energy

Wind power is the use of air flow through wind turbines to mechanically power generators for electric power. Wind power, as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses little land. (from wiki)

The method is to transmit the rotational power of the rotor (composed of aerodynamically propelled blades) to a generator through a propeller shaft. As of 2008, wind-generated electricity around the world is about 94.1 million kilowatts, and the supply of electricity has exceeded 1% of the world’s consumption. Although wind energy is not a major energy source for most countries, it has grown more than fourfold between 1999 and 2005.

Solar Energy

Most of common way to use solar energy is using solar panels to collect the solar energy from the sun and that can be turned into power to produce thermal heat or electricity. Nowadays, many family and companies equipped with solar panels. It is being widely used around the world. 

Another example, Japan is gradually developing zero-energy home. Zero-energy home refers to a house that does not consume conventional energy and is entirely dependent on solar energy or other renewable energy. It can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save human energy consumption. Japanese government has plan to reach 50% of new building house with zero-energy home in 2020, and 100% in 2030. With the support of Japanese government, I can see the future of Japan live with renewable energy.

Nuclear Energy

There is a lot debate about whether the nuclear energy is renewable energy or not? It has low carbon emmission, and also it has very small environmental impact. It produces radioactive, high-level waste. The differnece is like plastic takes a long time to decomposition, while the hazard of nuclear decrease with time.  Waste that results from nuclear energy production needs to be dealt with safely. From my opion, we do not need to define whether or not the nuclear energy is renewable energy. The only thing I know is the countries who has nuclear knowledge, they are planning to build more nuclear power plant with high efficiency power generated. That is reason why I put the nuclear energy at the list. 


With the development of vehicle, there is a lot problems come with growth of transporation. when there is more vehicles, they consumed more volume of fuels. It resutls in a large amout of pollutants emission. Netherneless, the increase of energy consumption in transport sector has been the fastest in all economic sector.

In America, the transportation sector is a major segment of the US economy: about 1 in 5 dollars in the US is spent annually on transportation products and services, and 1 in 16 Americans is employed directly by this sector. The transportation industry is also an important part of the city’s operations and it is an essential part of our lives. Main energy used for transportation is petroleum, there are so other energy used for transportation, such as gasoline and diesel. With the increasing number of users on the transportation, which create air pollution and contribute to global warming. The transportation sector has the fastest growing carbon emissions of any sector, with some 67 million new cars being produced each year.

At this condition, it is very essential to use green energy instead of polluting energy. The mechanical engineers create new energy cars such hybrid cars, electric cars, solar cars to reduce carbon dioxygen emissions.

Long term vs Short Term

Compare to fossil fuel energy, the renewable energy can be reused long time(hydropower), and free to get (river, solar, wind) with less impact on the enviromental, less carbon emission. In the long-term view, we know it is good to use renewable energy, however it still has weakness which i will talk about it in my vblog. In the short term view, most of energy we are using is fossil fuel energy. It is hard to change current energy consumption, for example we cannot produce all vehicles which can only use renewable energy no matter in techical problem or long term profit. It will takes a long time to change this fuel consumption. 


I hope this blog help you understand more about the renewable energy, and realise what current sition we are experiencing. For me, I think the world has already concerns about the energy and do care environment of every country. With development of renewable energy, I can see the future with more clean environment, and there is harmonious co-existence between man and nature.

In my vblog, I am going do more deep thinking about the renewable energy with talking about advantages and disadvantages, and also i will talk more about the future with long term view of renewable energy.


Thanks for reading


Enova Energy Group: http://www.enovaenergygroup.com/which-types-of-energy-source-produces-the-most-pollution/

Wikipedia about Hydroelectric, Solar energy, nuclear energy, wind energy

Arena:  https://arena.gov.au/about/what-is-renewable-energy/

U.S  https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_home

R.J. Fuller,2005,  Renewable Energy and Sustainability– An Evaluation

Energy Education: http://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Transportation

American Physical Society Sites:  https://www.aps.org/policy/reports/popa-reports/energy/transportation.cfm
world nuclear association: http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/energy-and-the-environment/renewable-energy-and-electricity.aspx