Fishermen were forced to abandon a raw fish eating protest yesterday because the restaurant they were using had no sashimi licence. More than 200 fishermen gathered in Aberdeen in an attempt to raise people's confidence amid the red tide scare. But cooks at the Hsin Kuang Restaurant refused to strip the fish and serve it raw, so the protesters had no choice but to eat it cooked. The group, from the Hong Kong Fish Industry Coalition, gathered 30 fishing boats in Aberdeen typhoon shelter during the morning to protest against what they saw as insufficient help from the Government during the red tide crisis, which killed millions of fish. To Kwong-biu, the coalition's spokesman, said: 'We took about 100 catties of fish and seafood, from shrimp to deep-sea garoupa, to the restaurant. 'We planned to invite reporters to pick any fish or seafood and we would eat it raw to clarify reports that our fish had been poisoned by red tide,' he said. 'But then the chefs stopped us, saying the restaurant did not have a permit and that diners were not allowed to eat sashimi there. We had no choice but to let the chefs cook the fish,' Mr To said. In addition to an ordinary restaurant licence, restaurants that want to serve raw fish or sashimi must obtain a special municipal council endorsement. They have to follow strict health guidelines. Mr To complained that the fishermen's business had dropped by 80 to 90 per cent during the red tide crisis as people shied away from eating fish. Yellow garoupa, costing more than $40 a catty before the crisis, now sold for $3. But even at that price few people were buying, he said.