LOCAL fishermen have threatened to block Victoria Harbour again unless the Government scraps a project which will ban fishing activities off Shek O. Fishermen's representatives, who will voice their anger in a Legislative Council bills committee meeting on Thursday, want the proposed Marine Parks Bill blocked because they fear it will force hundreds of local boats to stop fishing. The bill would make Cape D'Aguilar the first marine reserve in the territory, and ban all types of fishing in a 20-hectare area around it. The fishermen claim this will leave 500 local boats with nowhere to operate in, as dredging works near Cheung Chau and Lamma islands have already limited their options. Chung Shue-kan, spokesman for the Joint Committee of Hong Kong Fishermen's Organisations, said the area was an important site for fishing since the water around Cape D'Aguilar was cleaner than in most other parts of the territory. 'This is a silly joke. The Government is simply forcing us out of business,' he said. Mr Chung said the Government should delay the project for five years, until after the other dredging works have finished, and those areas are clean enough to fish in again. Another fishermen's representative, Leung Wai-ying, warned: 'Don't push us too hard.' Bills Committee chairman Dr Lam Kui-chun said the Government should increase compensation for fishermen affected by the plan. Legislators plan to visit the site next week to examine the situation. An Agriculture and Fisheries Department spokesman said the proposed reserve was too small to have much effect on local fishing. She insisted the plan would benefit fishermen in the long term since the marine reserve would allow the breeding of more fish. More than 1,200 vessels blocked Victoria Harbour last June after fishermen were prosecuted for hiring illegal mainland workers.