Reviving Local Fisheries | WWF Hong Kong


 
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Reviving Local Fisheries

By establishing sustainable fishery practices and better managing our seas, Hong Kong’s fish stock would in better shape and local fishing would flourish once again.
 
Hong Kong was once a thriving fishing village with abundant fish stocks. Unfortunately over the years, fisheries have declined drastically due to overfishing, unsustainable fishing practices and inadequate regulations. 

Some positive actions have been taken in an attempt to recover local fish stocks including a trawling ban, a registration scheme for local fishing vessels, and a proposal to establish Fisheries Protection Area.

But to tackle the root of the problem, Hong Kong needs to manage our fisheries better through a holistic approach.
 
WWF is advocating for a sustainable fisheries management plan. To achieve this, we need to: 
  • Build a fisheries data bank in Hong Kong that includes information about the conservation status of pelagic and demersal fish species, as well as invertebrate species 
  • Monitor fisheries regularly, and carry out stock assessments for species of conservation concern
  • Study the impacts of different fishing gears on fish and invertebrate, and biodiversity including vulnerable species
  • Study the impact of recreational fishing (i.e. hook and line fishery, and spearfishing) and illegal fishing
A fishery modelling study conducted by the University of British Columbia stated that if Hong Kong bans fishing within its existing five MPAs on top of banning trawling all across Hong Kong waters, the city would reap at least HK$ 2.8 billion worth of social, ecological and economic benefits.

However, this prediction is made based on the strong assumption that the fishery resources of Hong Kong would be managed effectively after the implementation of respective measures. WWF is trying to bridge the information gap with our research effort, so we can help formulate best-practice sustainable fisheries management in Hong Kong.
 
In the long run, Hong Kong should also strive to meet the sustainable fisheries standards of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). 
What is the Trawling Ban?
 
The trawling ban, which came in force on 31 December 2012, is the giant first step towards saving our near-collapsing marine ecosystem, restoring devastated fish stocks and moving towards sustainability.
 
There are two kinds of trawling practices: midwater and bottom trawling. The latter is considered the highly destructive since it involves dragging heavy nets along the seabed. The practice indiscriminately catches everything and destroys the sea floor.
 
By implementing the ban, our marine life and habitats can finally catch a breath and recover. 
 
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