Fishermen have asked SAR officials to enter into bilateral agreements with other governments to allow them to cast their nets in the Indian and South Pacific oceans. The call comes as government officials finalise an offshore fishing study aiming to find out what financial and technical support can be provided for local fishermen. Some SAR operators want to expand their business to catch high-value tuna amid stiff competition from mainland crews, but Hong Kong must first strike deals to fish in countries' waters. 'We need the SAR Government to take a proactive role in initiating talks with the Central Government and other countries to sort out the fishing agreements,' said legislator Wong Yung-kan, who represents the fishermen. Most fishermen operate in the South China Sea with a permit from mainland authorities, but the area faces an over-fishing crisis. There are about 80,000 active fishing boats in Guangdong, compared with 2,000 in the SAR. Lam Tong, 57, a fisherman for 30 years, last year bought two 300-tonne fishing vessels for $5 million each that can reach the Indian Ocean. His plans have stalled because he lacks the resources to install refrigeration necessary for tuna catches from the Indian Ocean. Fishing there is still unregulated, but an agreement is expected within two years. Mr Lam said at least 10 extra skilled fishermen would be needed for each boat and he hoped the SAR could boost support for related industries such as repairs and processing.