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Fishery

fishing.jpgPeng Chau originally had a dumb-bell shape, has a reasonable amount of level ground and has a sufficient source of fresh water. In addition to the abundant fishing grounds nearby to support a fishing village, the land was fertile and supported farmers as well, which meant Peng Chau attracted many people here, some of whom settled down while others were temporary residents. Peng Chau has natural mountains on almost four sides which creates a screen against the largest of storms and the east and west bays were even more sheltered from the wind. The west bay is the site of the temple for Tin Hau, which fishermen believed would protect them and has provided a safe asylum to this very day.

According to the historical records and verbal history of native Peng Chau residents, the island was established as an extremely well developed fishing port as early as 200 years ago. At that time there were over 200 boats that called Peng Chau home port. When the ships came back to port for the summer's month-long Cantonese Opera performances (the self-imposed summer fishing ban to allow for stocks to breed), it was said that you could walk from Peng Chau to Lantau without getting your feet wet due to boats completely filling the channel. The fishermen's verbal history shows that because the surrounding water produced more fish, the lives of the fishermen of that era was more comfortable than of the present era and had a lot more time for relaxation. The fishermen thought that mechanisation would make them rich, but it has actually made the job more laborious and the anxiety levels of fishermen have increased as well.

fish1958.jpg After the 1950s increase in Hong Kong's urbanisation, the population has increased, the industrial development increased, harbour reclamation increased (even reclamation of the harbour around Peng Chau). All of these things have increased the pollution of the harbour, which has greatly damaged the fishing industry. In addition, the mechanisation of the fishing fleet has increased over-fishing and the fishing catch has dropped suddenly. The government have done nothing to improve the sustainability and long-term future of fishing in Hong Kong and many fishermen have switched to other professions. Peng Chau's fishing community has been decimated with a ripple effect in to the rest of the community as government development plans have either destroyed local fishing areas or zoned them as forbidden territory, including Discovery Bay, Penny's Bay/Disneyland and Hei Ling Chau.

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