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Safety Standards Tightened in Fish Farms

The Chinese government has issued new regulations to improve the safety of fish farm products and to help protect the environment.

The new regulations, involving every aspect of aquatic cultivation, including water, cultivators, fries, and medicine for fishery use, would come into effect on Sep. 1, said Zhang Hecheng,deputy director in charge of fishery industry in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The regulation states clearly that the water quality of the cultivation ponds should reach set standards and requires fish farmers to be licensed.

It also requires farmers to keep records of the major steps in the cultivation procedure, such as the source of fries, quarantinesituations, feed, fish illnesses and treatment.

Varieties and quantities of medicines are clearly specified andfarmers are required to keep detailed records of medical treatments, which should be kept for at least two years after the aquatic products have gone on to market.

China's fishery cultivation output accounts for two thirds of the world's total. In late 2002, China had 6.81 million hectares of fishery cultivation ponds, producing 29.07 million tons of aquatics.

Zhang noted that though China's fishery industry had developed rapidly in recent years, problems such as product safety and the deteriorating environment had hindered its further development.

Some local governments extended to some extent the scale of fishery cultivation irrationally, neglecting the capacity of the environment, which caused occasional illnesses among stock and affect the environment, he acknowledged.
(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2003)

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