January 16, 2019
China-Myanmar exchange programme opens potential for basa aquaculture
China faces a huge gap when it comes to imports of basa fish, and Myanmar is in a unique position to fill that gap, industry experts said in a recent bilateral vocational exchange programme, the Global Times reported.
"China surpassed the US as the world's top importer of basa fish in 2016 after it loosened relevant import restrictions," Zhang Jiasong, an expert with the South China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the programme held in South China's Guangdong Province in December.
The programme aimed to boost cooperation between China and ASEAN countries under the framework of the Belt and Road initiative.
With improved living standards in China, fish consumption is rising and basa fish fillet is used in hotpot meals.
It is estimated that China needs 1.5 to 2 million tonnes of basa fish annually, according to Zhang. China can only produce 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes, and import about 700,000 tonnes.
Xiao Haidong, a manager at Guangdong Nutriera Group, shared that basa fish is easy and cheap to breed, and it has more tolerance of low-oxygen environments, which suits conditions in Myanmar, where electricity-powered oxygen boosters are not widely available.
Vietnam is the world's current leader in basa fish production, with 1.4 million tonnes of annual output. Vietnam mainly exports its basa fish to the United States.