Hong Kong’s angling zone in Central opens to little fanfare but hooks in a few fishing enthusiasts

Plan to get office workers to enjoy spot of fishing during lunch brings in retirees instead on second day of opening

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 March, 2017, 3:56pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 March, 2017, 8:36pm

Two fishing enthusiasts spent hours on Saturday casting their reels into the inaugural angling zone along Central Promenade, but there was little to show for their efforts.

The fishing policy, spearheaded by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, was initially proposed to lure the army of office workers in Central to enjoy a spot of fishing or swimming during lunch. But it was panned and ridiculed for lacking much common sense, with district councillors raising concerns over the high cost of the plan, as well as growing fears over the water quality in the zones.

During lunchtime on Saturday, white-collar workers were not seen in the angling zone, which opened on Friday. Instead, retirees were spotted in the area, equipped with rods, hooks and bait.

Little fanfare was made of the 200-metre stretch of fishing facilities, complete with a shelter, tables, wash basins and storage. It cost about HK$3.5 million to build and will cost HK$900,000 to run annually.

Hong Kong government hopes two new fishing zones in Central and Tai Po will catch on

The zone is located at the tip of Tamar Park in Admiralty, north of the Legislative Council complex. A second cut-price fishing zone in Tai Po will open soon.

Though the weather was overcast on Saturday, with winds making the harbour’s waters choppy, one of the two anglers at the Central zone managed to reel in a fish.

Kwan Kwok-chiu, 71, who was visibly jubilant, caught a six inch Japanese Golden Thread treat, which emerged from the water with its distinctive silver and pink scales.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department, tasked with implementing the policy, put up friendly notices advising people not to consume their catch because of the health hazards associated with the toxicity of the fish.

But Kwan, who said he was a seasoned fisherman, dismissed the government’s advice, saying his single catch would make a delicious soup for his Saturday supper.

“I’m not afraid, it’s okay. It’s not a big deal to eat it. I’ve caught many from the harbour and eaten them and I’m still okay,” he said. “I’m taking this home. This small fish will be good for a soup.”

Kwan also endorsed the location despite the unfavourable conditions for fishing, but urged policymakers to expand the fishing zone across the entire Central Promenade.

“The government needs to expand this fishing location because here, there is almost no fish,” the retiree said.

The other fishing enthusiast, Kong Chi-hang, 70, also praised the location of the fishing zone, but was resigned to not getting any catch that day.

“I’m fishing but unlikely to catch any fish. If there’s no fish, it’s okay. I really don’t mind.”