“An Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) is an alliance of producers, processors, suppliers, and buyers working together to address sustainability issues in a fish- (or shrimp-) farming zone. The zone may be a common water input/discharge source (canal, river, aquifer, or reservoir); a government-designated administrative division such as a development plan area or “park”; and/or a geographic feature such as an island, valley, or coastal area.

AIPs are designed to bring all stakeholders together to recognize their responsibilities and take actions to improve the environmental and social quality of the production zone. Key actions include understanding and implementing carrying capacity models, agreeing on specific control measures to deal with disease outbreaks, and developing market incentives for improvements.“

—— Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

Since 2010, China Blue’s Founder and Executive Director, the former China Program Director at Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) at the time, has worked with Chinese tilapia industry to cultivate the industry-led Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) in China.

China is the world’s leading tilapia producer, with approximately 1.55 million tonnes of production and 411,022 tonnes of export in 2014 (China Customs). Hainan, a tropical island in the South China Sea, has been the second largest exporting province, and lead in exports to the European Union (>47%).

After years of stakeholder engagement and capacity building, the Hainan Tilapia industry has gradually become a leader of experimenting the AIP and demonstrating the possible mechanism that drives the fundamental change within the system. Upon its foundation, China Blue has walked the Hainan tilapia industry hand in hand, hatching and nursing the Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance, the only industry-led association advocating zonal management towards sustainable aquaculture in China.

With the support from SFP and IDH, China Blue facilitated the establishment of Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance (hereafter as the Alliance). Founded in 2015 when the tilapia industry was suffering an unprecedented slump, the Alliance with the vision of building a safe, green and efficient model of tilapia farming, took on the mission of repositioning Hainan tilapia as a regional brand and directing the industry towards sustainable development.

The initiative led to the development and implementation of Code of Good Practices (CoGP), with a zonal management aspect. Over 40 pilot farms have applied the CoGP in the field in the past two years under the technical support from China Blue. We have also provided trainings on best practices and institutional development for the industry leaders and pilot farmers. These significantly enhanced the farmers’ awareness and knowledge about responsible farming. It also creates new partnerships for collective risk management and benefits sharing across the supply chain,

To learn more about the AIP progress, please visit: