China: Fish Farms and Fishing Traffic

Port news

Published: 23 January 2013

Members are advised to note that at many Chinese ports there may be found extensive fish farm and other aqua culture installations. These installations are growing and expanding, and can often be found quite close to designated shipping channels. In particular such installations can be found at Northern Chinese ports such as Dalian, Lanshan, Rizhao, Qinhuangdao, Caofeidan, Laizhou and Yantai.

Furthermore, ports can feature significant vessel traffic, in particular from fishing fleets, which may cross over shipping channels. Such traffic can be found across China, but particular in the South.

Not all of these farm installations, nor all vessels, necessarily carry lights, radar reflectors or other equipment which would allow for easy spotting and identification. In particular at night and during periods of poor visibility, there is a danger of incidents taking place.

Recent incidents have shown that these matters can prove very expensive and difficult to handle, even when no people were hurt.

Members are therefore advised to ensure that :-

  1. Master's have available to them the latest charts and publications, including the Admiralty Sailing Directions and Guide to Port Entry, for the particular port being approached;
  2. Local Agents advise in advance what the vessel may expect in terms of fishing traffic and farm installations : the local MSA may also put advisories on their respective web sites and which should be checked for information;
  3. Proper passage planning is done in advance, and all Officers on duty at the material time are alert to the issue;
  4. VHF / VTS should be monitored and a careful look out held;
  5. In case of possible doubt or concern, proper collision avoidance action should be taken well in advance : the Association has found that often a simple reduction in speed can make all the difference, as that allows for more time to assess the developing situation and to develop the appropriate navigational response.

If an incident does take place, Masters should inform Technical Managers and the Association as soon as possible, as a prompt and co-ordinated response will greatly assist in the future handling of the matter : especially as local sensitivities need to be considered, in particular during harvesting and holiday seasons such as the all important Chinese New Year festival celebrations.