Anglers' catches scale new heights
HOBBY anglers on Lamma Island are suddenly hauling in bucket loads of big fish - and some of them believe it might be because of the South China Sea fishing ban.
The Yung Shue Wan Ferry Pier has been packed with weekend anglers in recent weeks as word about the easy catches has got around.
But while some believe the fishing ban has led to the bonanza, others think it is just a coincidence.
Yeung Yip, 35, has been fishing every morning, and catches up to 50 gau yues, or Spanish mackerel, in the space of six hours.
He said: 'I think it's because of the cyclical change instead of the fishing ban.' He has been cooking fish balls or fish cakes with the fish for his family, but he has not eaten any.
'Fishing is a very personal hobby. I'm so crazy about it that my fingers are all badly cut by the fishing line and bites from the fish,' Mr Yeung said.
Another angler Sam Shum - who also lives on Lamma Island - said: 'The gau yues caught in these two months are [5cm] bigger than in the past. I can catch more than 20 of them in three or four hours.
'Usually, most of them would be caught by the fishing vessels before reaching the pier.
'There have been few gau yues in the nearby waters in the past seven years. Moreover, they usually only appear in winter.
'The ban may be benefiting the fishermen, but it doesn't have much to do with our increased catches.' A third angler, Yeung Ming, said she had heard there were a lot more fish near the outlying island piers, which she believed was a result of the ban.
Cheung Li Yuk-yee, kiosk assistant of Mid Way at the pier, said: 'More fishing fans have been coming here in holidays because there are more fish lately. I think the ban is working.' The mainland Agriculture Ministry imposed a no-fishing period in June and July to replenish dwindling fish stocks in the South China Sea due to over-fishing and illegal fishing methods.
The Legislative Council granted a $65 million loan to the 1,350 affected fishermen last month.