Surge in Domestic Seafood Sales in China Amid Safety Concerns

by Ella

A remarkable surge in the sales of domestically sourced seafood and other aquatic products has been witnessed on prominent Chinese e-commerce platforms. These platforms have pledged to intensify efforts in testing for radioactive substances, aiming to ensure the quality and safety of these products. This heightened vigilance comes in the wake of Japan’s decision to release nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean.

According to data provided by online discounter Pinduoduo, turnover for a range of domestic aquatic offerings, including sea cucumbers, shrimps, swimming crabs, freshwater fish, and seafood gift assortments, doubled on their online marketplace on the day of the radioactive water release compared to the previous day.


The transaction volumes of large yellow croakers and freshwater crabs, notably hairy crabs, witnessed remarkable increases of 148 percent and 730 percent, respectively, during this period, as reported by Pinduoduo.


JD Super, the online supermarket wing of the Chinese e-commerce behemoth JD, reported a 150 percent year-on-year surge in sales of aquatic products on the day of the incident. Furthermore, there was a substantial 63 percent escalation in sales from Tuesday to Thursday, relative to the timeframe of August 15 to 17.


JD Super emphasized that it has substantially augmented its testing protocols for radioactive substances in seafood and other aquatic products. Additionally, rigorous monitoring procedures have been implemented to ensure that the seafood offered for sale was harvested during a period of safety, before Japan initiated the release of contaminated water.


The platform has committed to ongoing scrutiny of the origin and capture time of seafood slated for future sale. Moreover, JD Super intends to diversify the range of domestic freshwater aquaculture products available, as stated by the platform.

As a response to Japan’s actions, China has imposed a suspension on imports of all aquatic products originating from Japan. This decision, enacted by the General Administration of Customs, coincided with Japan’s release of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Zhu Keli, the founding director of the China Institute of New Economy, noted the growing attention that Chinese consumers are giving to health and food safety. As a means of minimizing potential risks stemming from Japan’s radioactive discharge, consumers are displaying a preference for domestically produced aquatic products.

Nevertheless, Zhu emphasized the redundancy of hoarding seafood and aquatic products. He underscored the importance of consumer rationality and reliance on reputable sources when purchasing such goods.

Presently, central government bodies have escalated their scrutiny and monitoring of imported aquatic products. This measure is designed to uphold the quality and safety of these commodities, according to Zhu.

Song Wei, a primary school teacher in Beijing and a mother of a 6-year-old boy, recounted her purchase of 2 kilograms of freshly caught swimming crabs from JD on Friday. These crabs, hailing from Zhoushan in Zhejiang province, were commended for their freshness. Highlighting food safety as a paramount concern for her family, Song stressed the importance of understanding the seafood’s source, processing, and adherence to safety checks.

Jason Yu, the general manager of market research firm Kantar Worldpanel China, indicated that Japan’s actions are poised to impact not only Japanese seafood exports but also the broader seafood processing and catering service industry across the Asia-Pacific region. This impact stems from the likelihood of consumers turning to seafood sourced from northern Europe.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs stated its intent to bolster the monitoring of nuclear pollution risks tied to marine products. This initiative seeks to guarantee the quality and safety of all aquatic goods and safeguard the well-being of the populace. Furthermore, the ministry is committed to safeguarding the healthful growth of marine fisheries by vigilantly addressing potential threats to China’s marine resources.



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