Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Measures to help fishermen cope with fishing moratorium

     A number of measures are in place to help local fishermen cope with the fishing moratorium in the South China Sea this year.

     The Mainland authorities announced earlier that the fishing moratorium for this year would last from May 16 to August 1. All fishing operations except mono-layer gill-netting and lining in the South China Sea will be suspended during the period.

     A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (May 12) that it was estimated that about 1,200 local fishing vessels would be affected by the moratorium.  The significant drop in oil prices since last year should have helped ease the pressure of production costs for fishermen.  However, as the moratorium will be extended to other types of fishing vessels and lengthened by two weeks this year, it is expected that more fishermen will be affected.  The Government, after consulting the Fish Marketing Advisory Board, will be providing the following special arrangements through the Fish Marketing Organisation Loan Fund, with a view to helping the affected fishermen tide over the fishing moratorium:

* Extend the eligibility of fishing moratorium loan to those fishing vessels newly affected by the moratorium this year (i.e. gill netters using trammel nets and cage trappers) ;

* Maintain the maximum amount of the special loans at the same level as last year: $150,000 for vessels not less than 1,000 horsepower; $120,000 for vessels not less than 500 horsepower; and $80,000 for vessels under 500 horsepower.  In addition, fishermen with good repayment records for loans made in 2008 and previous years may apply for an additional loan. The maximum amount ranges from $26,000 to $50,000; and

* Absorb the interest of the moratorium loans and additional loans this year for one year on behalf of fishermen.

     The spokesman said that as the fishing moratorium is an annual event, the AFCD has reminded fishermen from time to time that they should take its implications into account when planning their operations every year.

     During the fishing moratorium, the AFCD will arrange free vocational training courses and seminars for fishermen so that they can make good use of the time available to enhance their knowledge and skills regarding fisheries operations and development, as well as switching to related industries. Programmes which are under preparation include various seminars to be held in Hong Kong on operational safety on fishing vessel, energy saving, marine ecotourism in Hong Kong, fisheries management and fisheries resource conservation and the new fishing moratorium arrangements by the Mainland.  In addition, a 6-day fisheries training course on the latest development of fisheries operations co-organised by the AFCD and relevant Mainland institute will be held in the Mainland.  Fishermen may apply for financial assistance under the Marine Fish Scholarship to attend the training course.

     The Mainland authorities implemented the first fishing moratorium in the South China Sea in 1999 with a view to conserving fisheries resources and promoting sustainable development of the fishing industry. The HKSARG arranges appropriate measures to help the fishermen to tide over the period each year.

Ends/Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Issued at HKT 21:46


Print this page