Licensing fees for fishing boats to be waived

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 July, 2008, 12:00am

Licensing fees for fishing boats will be waived for a year and it will be easier for fishermen to get loans, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said yesterday, announcing moves to help the fishing industry cope with rising oil prices.

After a meeting with the fishermen led by legislator Wong Yung-kan, Dr Chow said the government also proposed to exempt fishermen from interest on special loans granted to them.

It was estimated that the relief measures would cost the government between HK$7 million and HK$8 million, and benefit about 6,000 fishing vessel operators.

'I understand that fishermen are concerned about the impact of soaring fuel prices on their business,' Dr Chow said.

Fishing vessels eligible for the licensing fee waiver included those that transport fish and those used on fish farms. Operators would save between HK$180 and HK$5,200 on licence fees depending on the vessel size. Rules on loans would be relaxed. Instead of having to repay at least half of a previous loan as a precondition for applying for a new one, fishermen who had repaid one-sixth of their loan would be eligible for a new one.