Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Trawlers mourned

Trawlers have been banned from the waters of Hong Kong starting 2013.  If the ban stays, we won’t see trawlers near Aberdeen such as this, for a long time.  Not that we will not be able to find fish in the wet markets.  Together with farmed fish, fish caught in Hong Kong waters constitute less than one quarter of the fish we consume.  But they will probably be a little less fresh, and more expensive.

Whether the groupers, yellow croakers, shrimp and so on will recover is yet to be seen.  What is clear is that it cannot go on. From numerous videos on youtube, photographs and newspaper reports, it is abundantly clear that most of the catch from the trawlers are trash, as much as 80% according to many reports.  The amount of fish caught is small, and the fishes themselves are small.

Whose fault is it?  The government blames the trawlers, sweeping out everything - particularly the young ones before they have a chance to grow bigger - indiscriminately, and destroying the ocean floor.  The fishermen blame the large scale constructions such as the airport, the big ships  churning up the ocean floor, and the dumping of garbage.  There is no doubt there is a humongous amount of garbage in the water, and the big fishes are gone.  There is probably some truth on both sides.

There is something very appealing in the image of fishermen catching food for us from the waters around us, and us going to the wet market to buy food from them that are fresh, beautiful, tasty and natural.  It is really a shame that we cannot manage to keep it going.

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