Disney dredging 'has cut catch'
Fishermen yesterday blamed dredging work at Penny's Bay for a drastic drop in their catches over the past three months.
They claimed catches had fallen by about half since mud dredged in preparation for the Disney project began to be taken through the East Lamma Channel to a dumping site off the Kwo Chau islands.
Wong Chung-ming, a spokesman for more than 200 offshore fishing operators, said the dredging boats had caused marine pollution in the channel and off the islands.
'The water has become very milky there since the works began. The dredger from Penny's Bay leaks mud while it is going to Kwo Chau. Sometimes we see them just dump the mud on the way,' he said.
Mr Wong said the fall in catches had hit the fishermen's income, which also was affected by the recent surge in oil prices. The fishermen want the Government to compensate them for their loss.
A total of 300 hectares of land is to be reclaimed at Penny's Bay for the Disneyland project, which is due to be completed by 2005.
The Kwo Chau islands are one of five dumping sites for 48 million cubic metres of uncontaminated mud.
About 66 million cubic metres of sand for the site will be dredged from the East Lamma Channel seabed and in mainland waters. The fishermen fear the sand extraction will further damage the marine environment.
A Works Bureau spokeswoman said: 'We have instructed the contractor to load the mud on board properly. But some leakage is unavoidable.'
Ex gratia allowances will be granted if suspended solids in the water rises 50 per cent over the normal level.