With a coastline of some 6,500 km (4,000 mi) adjoining a broad continental shelf, China has excellent coastal fisheries. A vast number of inland lakes and ponds, covering a total area of about 300,000 sq km (116,000 sq mi), are also used for fish culture, and a 30 km (19 mi) section of the Yangtze below Gezhouba Dam at Yichang is a designated sturgeon preserve. The principal marine fisheries are located on the coast of southern and southeastern China, in the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang. The total catch in 2000 was 16,987,325 tons, the highest in the world and 18% of global production. Of that total, 2,233,230 tons came from inland waters and 14,754,095 tons from marine fishing. China typically accounts for about 10% of the world's catch, but per capita Chinese consumption of fish amounts to only 9.3 kg (20.5 lb) per year (live weight equivalent), one of the lowest amounts in Asia. China's leading aquacultural products are carp, kelp, oysters, and scallops.
Exports of fisheries products in 2000 accounted for 6.5% of the commodity's world exports, and were valued at over $3.6 billion (second after Norway). Regulations for the protection of aquatic resources were enacted in 1979.