Tilapia Code of Good Practice through zonal management approach

Implementing Partner: Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Foundation (SFP)/China Blue Sustainability Institute
Other partner(s): Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance (the Alliance)
Country: China, Hainan province
Species: Tilapia
Targeted volume: 4,500 MT (small-scale farms)
Target: Hainan Tilapia Code of Good Practices with zonal management
Project duration: 24 months (July 2014 – June 2016)

Project summary

To enhance the majority of small-scale producers’ capacity to meet the increasing demand for sustainable seafood in international markets, this project aims to explore a zonal management approach that strengthens the collaborative measures among farmers and supply-chain members by promoting the Code of Good Practices (CoGP). The project started with 10 pilot farms and the formation of an industry-wide platform (the Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance) in July 2014. The first aims were to carry out the development of the Code and give hands-on trainings for farmers in the field.

The project has achieved most of it’s objectives as it now covers over 35 pilot farms with improved Feed Conversion Rate, survival rate and a lower incidence rate of disease (streptococcus).  Nevertheless, there are still many challenges for the Hainan tilapia producers (e.g. extreme and unpredictable weather often cause a severe damage and loss to fish farm). More regional-based practices will be customized to the local environment.

With the facilitation of the Alliance one pilot farm was certified as the first iBAP farm of tilapia in Asia and the third in the world in 2015. Over 500 farmers have received technical and institutional capacity training from the Alliance. More than 95% of the farmers who participated in the workshops and trainings organized by the Alliance reviewed the events as positive with comments like very useful information and well delivered.

Leading buyers continue to be heavily engaged in Hainan, which suggests a potential for a premium for good quality fish and provides incentive for more farmers to adopt the CoGP.


“Education and training have been the key elements of supply chain success at the farm level – and this is only possible when we team up with experts like SFP, China Blue and the Alliance, and the dedication they have for the farming community.  Speed of success is advanced by great degrees when IDH steps up to the table.”

Manish Kumar, CEO of The Fishin’ Co.

“Hainan tilapia producers have always wanted to build up a regional brand for tilapia with proven practices in Hainan. But all kinds of challenges kept them away from taking the first step. The IDH-supported Farmers In Transition (FIT) project, along with technical support from SFP, incubated the Alliance, which advocates and enforces sustainable farming among small farmers. This initiative has aroused producer’s awareness of sustainability. Each component of the industry chain now has jointly worked under the Alliance to promote a healthy and efficient model of tilapia farming. This is a transformative movement. It is finally ‘walk the talk’. I personally sense that under the Alliance’s guidance the sustainability vision has inspired many people, including myself, to take action.  I truly believe, through the FIT project, we are closer to our dream of building a brand of sustainable tilapia.”

 Ian LI, CEO of Hainan Kingwin Aquaculture Co. Ltd.

Hainan Tilapia Sustainability Alliance

Founded in 2014, the Alliance is the first independent, industry-led, multi-stakeholder association to promote sustainable seafood production in China. The Board of Directors of the Alliance includes large and medium companies as well as individual farmers. The Board of directors is accompanied by the Secretariat, an executive team, consisting of a full-time Secretary General and Office Assistant. The Alliance also sets up a Supervisory Board and a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC consists of a group of aquaculture scientists and sustainability specialists who will advise the Alliance on responsible and environmental friendly practices for regional production.

The Alliance draws experience from modern industry organizations, values local socio-culture and puts effort in building a cooperative platform of mutual trust and benefit for the Hainan tilapia supply-chain. They explore production models that are safe, green and efficient.

China Blue Sustainability Institute

 China Blue Sustainability Institute (China Blue) is the very first domestic NGO dedicated to promoting sustainable fishery and aquaculture in China. It is an independent, interdisciplinary research oriented organization. It catalyzes the transformation of Chinese seafood business towards sustainability by providing user-friendly knowledge and tools. It cultivates key stakeholders’ awareness and the capacity to enforce sustainable practices. Furthermore, it facilitates the Chinese philanthropists’ social investment to grow NGO power for ocean sustainability. Founded by Ms. Han Han, the former China Program Director of SFP, leader of the Hainan Tilapia AIP, China Blue continues to facilitate the Alliance in all aspects to execute the project activities. China Blue is based in Haikou, Hainan, with a diverse team of expertise in sustainable aquaculture, program management, and supply-chain engagement.

 Contact details:

Anton Immink, Aquaculture Director SFP
Email: anton.immink@sustainablefish.org