The government should open all of the Central promenade to anglers instead of restricting the activity to a given area, said fishing associations on Wednesday in response to the pilot scheme to build fishing zones suggested by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

The 200 square metre angling zone is expected to cost HK$3.5 million to build and HK$900,000 to maintain each year, according to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). Construction near Tamar Park is due to commence in October and the angling area is expected to be completed by March next year.

Tamar Park
Tamar Park. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Ho Man-yiu, a member of the Harbourfront Commission, said on a RTHK programme on Wednesday that the idea of constructing an angling zone in a fixed area is behind the times, saying that society no longer adheres to the government’s restrictions on when and where they can fish.

Anglers usually decide where to place their fish hooks depending on where fish gather – thus, it is “peculiar” to restrict the angling area to just one location, said Ho. He added that it would be more appropriate to open the entire promenade to angling while providing fishermen with additional facilities for the activity.

Kan Chak-fun, chairman of the Hong Kong Sport Fishing Federation, said that he supports the government’s promotion of fishing activities, but anglers usually prefer not to gather in one place as it would decrease the number of fish in the area.

Kan added that the Hong Kong government can find other countries in South East Asia which have constructed fishing parks with larger areas and more facilities as a reference for improvement.

Central promenade
Part of the Central promenade. Photo: GovHK.

Chan Hok-fung, vice chairman of the Central and Western District Council, said that angling is a popular activity and that he expects the district council to support the project.

In March, Leung proposed to construct a fishing zone in a blog post about water activities. He said that he spoke to three members of an angling association regarding the plan before making the proposals in his policy address.

The LCSD is planning to construct two more fishing zones in Tai Po and Tsing Yi in addition to the one in Central. The Central and Western District Council will discuss documents related to the project on Thursday.

Gene Lin is a Journalism and Computer Science student at The University of Hong Kong. He worked as a reporter for the 'LIVE: Verified Updates' during the Occupy Central protests. He is also an editor at HKU's first English-language student paper, The Lion Post.