Hefty catch raises hope for harbour

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, 12:00am


It was an unexpected and encouraging sight for the anglers trying their luck off pier 3 in Central.

They watched as one of their number reeled in a one-metre common sea bass at 1am on Friday - a sign, perhaps, that the fish population is recovering in a harbour that many people perceive as too dirty to sustain a rich marine life.

The scene was captured by a ferry passenger using his smart phone.

'He'd already caught the fish when I walked by, but both the fisherman and his friend looked very proud - and, I'm sure, surprised,' the passenger said. 'They were surrounded by 10 or so people taking photos.'

Fisheries officers confirmed it was a common sea bass after seeing the photo. They said it was regularly found in Hong Kong waters.

Seasoned fisherman Lai Tak-chuen, who is based in Ma Wan, said such a catch was not unusual at one time but had become less likely.

'These fish used to swim south in winter to breed. But more and more have been caught by mainland fishermen with better designed fish nets,' Lai said.

Dr Allen To Wai-lun, a conservation officer with the WWF, said the presence of such a large fish had little to do with improved water quality in the harbour - but it could indicate that the fish population is recovering.