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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

by Thierry Tak-chuen Chan

July 2005


www.civic-exchange.org Civic Exchange Room 701, Hoseinee House, 69 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2893-0213

Fax: (852) 3105-9713

Civic Exchange is a non-profit organisation that helps to improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.

Cover design by Ken Can-yuan Li


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

RECOMMENDATIONS

1

SECTION 1

OVERVIEW

4

1.1

Background

4

1.2

Terminology

4

1.3

Introduction

5

1.4

Freshwater pond fish farming

7

1.5

Mariculture

8

1.6

Ornamental fish farming

11

1.7

Government policies

12

QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY

23

2.1

Inception

23

2.2

Survey

23

2.3

Results

24

SECTION 2

2.3.1

Question 1 – conditions

25

2.3.2

Question 2 – related statutory ordinances

28

2.3.3

Question 3 - suggestions for improvement

30

2.4

SECTION 3

Evaluation

35

CASE STUDIES

39

3.1

Singapore

39

3.2

Taiwan

40

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS REFERENCES TABLES APPENDICES Disclaimer: The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily represents the opinions of Civic Exchange.


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

LIST OF APPENDICES APPENDIX I Responsibilities of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD)

APPENDIX II Practices, visions and strategies of Taiwan Government policy on aquaculture

APPENDIX III Questionnaire (culturist’s version) Questionnaire (non-culturist’s version)

LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1 Quantity and monetary value of annual aquaculture fish production in Asia and the world from 1984 to 2002

TABLE 2 Quantity and monetary value of the annual primary, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture fish production in Hong Kong from 1984 to 2004

TABLE 3 Quantity and monetary value of mariculture and freshwater fish culture production in Hong Kong from 1984 to 2004

TABLE 4 Details of fish culture zones in Hong Kong (as at 31st Jan 2005)

TABLE 5 Percentages of the results of Q2 of the questionnaire for non-culturists


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

RECOMMENDATIONS These recommendations are the conclusions from the report that follows, and are intended to guide Government authorities and other interested parties for the future sustainable development of the local aquaculture industry in Hong Kong. The terminology and concepts included in these recommendations are explained and discussed in more detail in the body of the report.

1.

Government industry promotion and reform. The HKSAR Government needs to communicate more with the aquaculture sector and play a more active role in promoting the industry through improving the fish culture environment, offering more efficient technical support, and amending related Ordinances. By doing so, it can ensure better control of the discharge of pollutants into the waters in such a way that the culturists (especially mariculturists) become responsible for maintaining their operative environment with attention paid to the effluents and feed wastage polluting the waters around their facilities. In addition, their operations can made to be more practical (e.g. allowing the use of 24-hour guards, lessening the restrictions regarding the possession and use of veterinary drugs for disease remedy and prevention) and economically viable (e.g. controlling the quantity of imported food fish from other countries because of the threats from freemarket and laissez faire policies to the survival of this primary production industry).

2.

Fisheries management practices. The Government should establish comprehensive fisheries management practices (e.g. setting a size-limit of the catch) so as to discourage or ban the fishing of mixed fish as fish feeds, which in turn theoretically should stop the problems of size-overfishing and habitat destruction by typical trawling activities. To complement the ban on using juvenile fish and mixed fish as feeds in fish culture, the use of formulated artificial pellet feeds should be promoted. At the early stage, an independent fund or grant offered by Government would be useful in providing subsidized artificial feeds at a price similar to mixed fish, letting culturists adapt and accept the fact that artificial feeds are their only choice. However, a variety of artificial feeds for different species should be made available through research, development and marketing of the sales and production of the feeds in order to improve the quality of fish produced and change the perception of the public towards

1


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

cultured fish via labeling locally-produced cultured fish as branded food1. 3.

4.

Modernization of the mariculture industry. The Government should consider buying back all licences from mariculturists at a reasonable price2 in order to re-start the industry, changing it from an old-fashioned, low-tech operation to one that is modern and high-tech in 5 ways: 3.1

All sediments from the Fish Culture Zones should be removed in an environmental friendly way (e.g. a careful dredging process, and the possibility of using the sediments as agricultural fertilizer rather than direct disposal causing pollution to other areas, etc).

3.2

Mariculture licences should be issued on a renewable basis (solely based on the performance of the operation).

3.3

The authority should provide culturists with the necessary infrastructure and management advice for effective operation.

3.4

The business sector should be encouraged to invest in largescale aquaculture operations with modern techniques.

3.5

The Government should reactivate the open marine cage culture (even in Chinese waters – negotiation with the Chinese government) with modified practices and regulations (e.g. special offers for interested businesses to kick-start operations).

Alternative system for fish food production. In light of the unfavourable inshore water quality for mariculture and scarcity of in-land fish ponds, the Government should promote the establishment of on-land indoor facilities for intensive culture as a means for producing aquaproducts. By taking the operating facility in the HKU Kadoorie Research Centre as an example and making use of existing unused Government land and property, it would be feasible and economically viable for such facilities with stable and controllable culture conditions to be the alternative system for food fish production. This kind of fish production can achieve sustainability if it has a supply of full-cycle hatchery produced fish fry of species at low trophic levels, formulated artificial feeds produced from more sustainable sources (e.g. plant

1

The suggestion for marketing locally produced fish (for pond fish) as branded food had been deploying by the AFCD since 20th June 2005 (see Section 2.3). 2 Perhaps it is time for the Government to take a revolutionary approach to this industry because most of the mariculturists’ businesses are suffering and their facilities are being under-utilized.

2


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

proteins), effective water circulation systems (wastes can be used up by microorganisms or converted into organic fertilizer) and a renewable energy supply (e.g. solar energy). 5.

Centralized live seafood market. In parallel with regulating the import of seafood (including live food fish) through legislation in terms of food safety issues (e.g. outbreaks of ciguatera, shellfish poisoning, cholera, etc), the Government should set up a centralized market for all live seafood commodities so that food testing, origin tracing and the quarantine of all imported aquaproducts (live) can be done in one place. This can also be developed as another attractive spot for the local tourism industry.

6.

Hatchery research and business development. Through collaboration with institutes and possibly investment from the business sector, the Government should launch research and development in the hatchery business as there is substantial demand for fish fry in the region. The Government should consider setting up an investment company (as has Singapore) to drive the hatchery business forward on an economically viable basis. Apart from producing species suitable for the local culture industry, focus should also be placed on developing the production of herbivorous species (at lower nutritional levels) which generally do not need so much feed (especially animal protein) to grow, and on regarding aquaculture as contributing to the protection and enhancement of stocks of endangered species through external and then in-place conservation after habitat rehabilitation and the amelioration of the threats to the species (FAO, 1997).

In conclusion, the development of the local aquaculture industry inevitably requires further investment. There is also the question of whether the HKSAR Government should invest directly, which is not the norm in Hong Kong. Having said that, policymakers obviously have a role to play in considering whether and how they wish this industry to develop here, taking into account all the factors raised in this report. Our research shows that the city has a good foundation on which to modernise this industry while observing sustainable development principles. We hope that policymakers will give fisheries appropriate attention as an important food policy area, which has been long and unfortunately neglected in the face of more recent industries such as tourism and information technology.

3


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

SECTION 1 1.1

OVERVIEW

BACKGROUND Aquaculture plays an increasingly important part in the production of food for human consumption. Despite the relatively long history of aquaculture in Hong Kong, there has been virtually no development of this industry even though the demand for live food fish has never declined during the last two decades. The fact that so little research attention has been devoted exclusively to this subject has spurred Civic Exchange to undertake this research project. This report investigates the current status and the underlying policies related to the aquaculture industry in Hong Kong, to explore better policies and implementation coordination. It ends with a series of recommendations towards sustainable development of this industry for policy makers to consider.

1.2

TERMINOLOGY According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fisheries, including aquaculture, are those that “provide a vital source of food, employment, recreation, trade and economic well-being for people throughout the world, both for present and future generations and should therefore be conducted in a responsible manner”. Within the ambit of fisheries, we use “aquaculture” in this report to mean “the farming of aquatic organisms, including fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and aquatic plants” in freshwater, brackish water and marine cultures. The term “farming” denotes “some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production as well as ownership of the stock being cultivated” (FAO, 2000). For our purposes “freshwater pond fish culture” means fish farming in freshwater fish ponds, while “mariculture” refers to fish farming in the marine environment. This study focuses on both freshwater and marine fish farming3 in Hong Kong.

3

Farming, culture and husbandry are interchangeable terms in this report.

4


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

1.3

INTRODUCTION Global trends Global aquaculture production has grown rapidly since the 1970s, and is now among the fastest growing food production sectors in many countries. In 2002, the world total fishery production (excluding aquatic plants) was 133.0 million metric tonnes, 41.9 million metric tonnes of which were produced from aquaculture practices. The production of cultured fish, crustaceans and molluscs had already contributed 39.8 million metric tonnes (95.0% of the total aquaculture production). China became the largest aquaculture producer in 2002, with a 6.6% increase by volume and 8.3% growth by value when compared with the figures in 2001 (Vannuccini, 2004). According to the FAO fishery statistics (FAO/FD, 2005), aquaculture fish production increased from 3.4 million metric tonnes (valued at US$ 4.6 billion) in 1984 to 21.0 million metric tonnes (valued at US$ 19.9 billion) in 2002. When compared with the global figures on cultured fish production (24.2 million metric tonnes), in terms of quantity, Asia has been contributing over 86% of the total world fish production since 1994 (Table 1). Purpose of Aquaculture Aquaculture is expected to play an increasingly important role in the effort to combat problems stemming from the heavy demand on capture fisheries, diminishing supplies due to over-exploitation, and chronic malnutrition in some developing countries (FAO, 2000). Aquaculture may be a potential strategy for alleviating the negative impacts of destructive fishing, but concerted efforts and cooperation among concerned non-government and government sectors will be required to overcome various constraints (Biusing et al., 1997). Generally speaking, the purposes of aquaculture include: —

Producing high consumption;

—

Contributing to rural income and employment through farming and related activities;

—

Enhancing capture and sport fisheries;

—

Cultivating ornamental species for aesthetic purposes;

—

Controlling aquatic weeds or pests hazardous to humans or 5

nutritional

value

food

for

human


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

crops; and —

Recuperating soil through desalination and other means (FAO, 2000).

Aquaculture in Hong Kong The rapid growth and heyday of the fish farming industry in Hong Kong were in the mid-20th century, but the last two decades have seen this primary food production industry deteriorating. Despite Hong Kong’s pioneering role in both pond and marine food fish culture in the region, the industry now involves low technology, no mechanization, no genetic engineering or formal education and no further development is being pursued (Lai, 2002). Although the primary production in Hong Kong is less than 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP), fisheries are an important primary industry because there is a strong demand for fresh fisheries products, and all aquaculture production is for local consumption (Leung, 2002; Wilson, 1997; Wong, 1995). In 2004, Hong Kong produced a total of 8.5 million metric tonnes (valued at HK$ 2,796 million) of primary products, 3,518 metric tonnes (0.02%) of which came from the fish culture sector (representing 2.0% of 177.268 metric tonnes of all fisheries production). Despite its relatively small quantity, the monetary value (HK$112 million) contributed a remarkable portion (4.0%) of the total primary production (Table 2). From 1984 to 1997, fish culture played an important role in fisheries production, with an annual average production of 4% in quantity and 11.3% in monetary value. For freshwater pond fish culture, the annual production decreased from 6,500 metric tonnes (HK$ 104 million) in 1984 to 1,977 metric tonnes (HK$ 33 million) in 2004 (representing 56.3% and 29.5% of the quantity and monetary value of total fish production, respectively). In contrast, the annual mariculture production has been showing an increase, although small, from 1,283 metric tonnes (HK$ 98 million) in 1984 to 1,541 metric tonnes (HK$ 79 million) in 2004 (representing 43.8% and 70.5% of the quantity and monetary value of total fish production, respectively) (Table 3). From the viewpoints of percentage share of mariculture in the total fish production and productivity4, such expansion implies mariculture will take over the role played for decades by freshwater fish culture. In addition, mariculture plays a small but significant and mitigating role in 4

Productivity can be reflected by metric tonne hectare-1 (number of farmers)-1 or $ hectare-1 (number of farmers)-1

6


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

providing live fish for some species important to the live reef food fish trade, dominated by the capture fisheries (Chan, 2001; Sadovy & Lau, 2002). Three main types of fish culture industry now operate in Hong Kong: inland freshwater pond fish culture in the northern New Territories; coastal brackish pond culture in the northwestern New Territories at Deep Bay; and coastal marine fish cage culture in 26 Fish Culture Zones5 (FCZs) (Table 3).

1.4

FRESHWATER POND FISH FARMING History of freshwater pond fish farming Farming of fish in ponds is an ancient practice. In China integration of pond fish culture and rice farming was documented as early as the Mid-Eastern Han Dynasty (AD25-220), and was probably developed by early farmers as a primary production system in order to stabilize food supply. Fish ponds also serve as a tool for agriculture. For example, Chinese water spinach and water chestnuts can be cultivated in fish ponds (FAO, 2000). In Hong Kong, fish ponds and coastal fish ponds areas were created after World War II and later in the 1960s and 1970s, local rice farmers in the New Territories converted low-lying paddy fields into either market gardening land or freshwater fish ponds. Monoculture (culturing only one species, e.g. snakehead), polyculture (culturing several species, e.g. carps with tilapia, carps with grey mullet) and integration with duck rearing were the three main culturing methods for freshwater fish in Hong Kong. Economic value of freshwater fish in Hong Kong In the last twenty years, both the area of culture and the amount of freshwater fish produced has been decreasing. Fish pond area has shrunk by 37% while the quantity and monetary value of fish has decreased by 70% and 68%, respectively (Table 3). In 1991, there were approximately 1,700 farmers. In 2004, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) estimated there were only 637 freshwater fish culturists operating their businesses (a 62% decrease).

5

According to the AFCD, there was no mariculture activities in 2 of the 26 FCZs, namely Tiu Cham Wan (unfavourable culture conditions) and Wong Wan (unpopular among mariculturists because of its remoteness).

7


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Freshwater pond fish farming problems in Hong Kong Owing to the relative ease of controlling water conditions and rearing, reproducing and crossbreeding fish species, freshwater pond food fish culture is generally considered superior to marine fish culture (Lai & Lam, 1998). However, land scarcity due to encroachment by urban development, road and rail construction on land, water availability, pollution and the rise in opportunity cost in labour resulting in competition from China are the main threats to the freshwater pond fish farming industry in Hong Kong (Chau & Lai, 2004; Lai, 2002; Wong, 1995).

1.5

MARICULTURE History of mariculture Private mariculture using rafts first appeared in the late 1960s. The practice originated when some fishermen found that their custom of keeping surplus captured live fish in cages in the sea for private consumption could be adapted for commercial purposes. Initial efforts of fish culturists were not sophisticated and were mostly made by retired fishermen, private households, etc. In the 1970s, mariculture operations could be found in 54 sheltered bays (Wong, 1995). In the early days, the increasing number of fish culture operations in inshore waters (originally a form of squatting) came into conflict with coastal development and recreational uses. This created water quality problems and disputes between culturists (Lai and Yu, 1995, Wilson, 1997). In view of this, the Government enacted the Marine Fish Culture Ordinance (MFCO) in 1982 in an attempt to avoid conflicts between various users of coastal waters. Under this Ordinance all mariculturists have to acquire a licence to carry out operations. Despite the enforcement of such a regulatory ordinance, the annual production of cultured marine fish increased by an average of 31.8% (960 metric tonnes to 2,870 metric tonnes) from 1983 to 1987 (Leung, 2002). Economic value of mariculture in Hong Kong Unlike the situation for freshwater fish culture, during the last two decades the number of mariculture licensees remained almost the same with a 57% increase in the area. Its production peaked at 3,860 metric tonnes (valued at HK$ 223 million) in 1991 while the lowest quantity and monetary value occurred in 1998 at 1,200 8


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

metric tonnes6 and in 2002 at HK$ 57 million (Table 3). In 1995, less than 23% of live marine fish consumed in Hong Kong were produced by the local mariculture industry. Most of the licensed mariculturists were small in scale (less than 300 square metres) and family-based (Wilson, 1997). At present, there are 26 FCZs located in Hong Kong (Table 4); however most culture operations are not operating at full capacity and there has been a marked reduction in culture activities since 2000 (Sadovy & Lau, 2002). Economic value of mariculture in China In China, mariculture production (mainly shellfish, fish, shrimp, crab and seaweed) increased 9-fold from 1,246,500 metric tonnes in 1985 to 11,315,000 metric tonnes in 2001. There were more than 1 million cages used along Chinese coastal waters, mostly located in Guangdong Province (over 300,000 cages), Fujian Province (600,000-700,000 cages), Zhejiang Province (75,000 cages), Shandong Province (20,000 cages) and other coastal regions. From 1999 to 2001, the average annual production of Shandong Province (2,873,600 metric tonnes, 27.22% of the total) and Fujian Province (2,590,702 metric tonnes, 24.54% of the total) accounted for over 50% of the total mariculture production in China (Yang et al, 2005). At this time China was also playing a leading role in producing 26,790 tonnes of groupers (one kind of high value fish species), representing just over half of the total global production of the fish (around 52,000 tonnes at a value of about US$238 million, which was only US$120 million in 2002) (FAO/FD, 2005). Although the grouper culture industry provides important socioeconomic benefits to coastal communities throughout the Asia-Pacific region7, it was a concern that the majority (more than 60%) of cultured grouper came from grow-out8 operations using wild-caught juvenile fish and were mostly fed with wild fish (Sadovy & Lau, 2002).

6

The abrupt decline in 1998 might be due to the red tide episode and the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997/1998. 7 Backyard grouper hatcheries in Bali have internal rates of return of 12% to 356%. Grow-out of grouper in cages and ponds in the Philippines brings returns on investment of 59% and 82%, respectively. 8 Small juvenile fish are grown in cages to market size.

9


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Changing consumer preferences Two things might change the public’s opinion of mariculture. Firstly the incidences of ciguatera in the past five years, and secondly the results of a “blind” taste-test study showing that consumers who preferred a cultured low value grouper species favoured cage-reared over wild-caught fish9 (Chana, 2000),. People may now see it as an alternative and safe source of food fish (Chana, 2000; Chau, 2004). Mariculture problems in Hong Kong However, mariculture in Hong Kong faces several problems, which include:

9

(1)

high mortality due to poor inshore water quality and diseases;

(2)

unstable and insufficient local supply of fish fry / fingerlings – all must be imported;

(3)

urban development and pollution in coastal areas;

(4)

serious organic and nutrient enrichment in the bottom sediment;

(5)

algal bloom (e.g. red tide),

(6)

high wages for workers and problems in hiring foreign workers;

(7)

lower production costs in China, Thailand and elsewhere – Hong Kong prices for cultured fishes are not competitive;

(8)

use of mixed fish10 as fish feed;

(9)

by-catch problems associated with fry inputs using smallmeshed nets;

(10)

lack of technical expertise or support from government;

(11)

limited provision of medicines to treat fish because of tight import controls, possession and use of medicine; and

(12)

sustainable sources of fish meal in the artificial pellet feed (Chan, 2000; Cheng, 2004; Chu, 2002; FAO/SD, 1996; Lam, 1990; Lai & Yu, 1995; Sadovy & Lau, 2002; Yang et al., 2005).

But consumers favoured wild-caught fish for a high value grouper. Sometimes referred to as “trash fish” in some literature.

10

10


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

1.6

ORNAMENTAL FISH FARMING11 History of ornamental fish farming Hong Kong has been one of the major international ornamental fish trading centres in Asia, with a long history of breeding and culture. Despite the ‘low-tech’ and informal nature of its culture12, a viable ornamental fish hatching, culture, wholesaling, retailing and import/export industry has existed locally since the end of the Second World War (Han et al., 2002; Lam & Lai, 2002; Lai, 2002). Goldfish, one of the most popular ornamental fish, is a native of China and probably the first kind of ornamental fish kept by human beings for good fortune and warding off bad luck. Tropical freshwater fish 13 and ornamental carps 14 are also examples of ornamental fish being cultured in Hong Kong. Economic value of ornamental fish in Hong Kong As a component of primary production, it was estimated that the total turnover generated from local aquarium shops, retailers, and wholesalers 15 amounted to HK$5-7.5 million monthly in 2001. During the industry’s heyday in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, there were more than 20 exporters 16 , exporting ornamental fish monthly valued at HK$5 to 8 million. However, due to rising feed and maintenance costs and increasing competition from China, over 95% of the supply of tropical fish and goldfish are nowadays imported from Shenzhen or further north in the Pearl River Delta. Hong Kong now exports less than 25% of the ornamental fish value of the 1980s (Han et al., 2002). In order to enhance the output quality and enrich output variety for the aquaculture industry, as well as fulfill the large and highincome consumer market, the ornamental fish culture industry was suggested to be economically viable and should be encouraged for positive innovations (Lai, 2002; Lai & Leung, 2004). However, little is known in the academic world about its history or performance, and there is virtually no government regulation of

11

This section does not cover marine ornamental fish because of the unsuitability of climate and limited breeding technology. 12 Culturists usually learn from trial and error, and their way of operations are commercial secrets which only passed to those with relationship (Lai & Lam, 1998). 13 Common fish species include the cichlids, discus, angel fish, corydoras, livebearers, catfish, etc. 14 Also known as “koi” (Japanese). 15 There were 453 and 194 shops, retailers and wholesalers in 1987 and 2001, respectively. 16 Some food fish (e.g. snakehead) farmers converted their operations to the spawning and culture of goldfish for wholesale and export (Lai & Lam, 1998).

11


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

this profitable industry in terms of import quotas, export subsidies or technical assistance, except the ban on the trade or import of endangered species (Han et al., 2002). Problems with ornamental fish farming in Hong Kong As with freshwater pond fish farming, land scarcity due to encroachment by urban development and road and rail construction on land, water availability, shortage and high cost of fish feeds 17 (e.g. waterfleas and bloodworms), pollution and competition from China are the main threats to ornamental fish culture industry in Hong Kong.

1.7

GOVERNMENT POLICY The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) The AFCD of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is responsible for enhancing the productivity of the aquaculture industry through planning and improvement in culture and management techniques (Wong, 1995). The Aquaculture Fisheries Division of the AFCD has 4 sections: the Aquaculture Environment Section, the Inland Culture Development Section, the Mariculture Development Section, and the Red Tide Management Section. There are three research substations: Au Tau Fisheries Sub-station (which concentrates on research related to inland finfish pond culture and fish disease), Kat O Fisheries Sub-station (concerned with the improvement of marine fish culture techniques) and Aberdeen Fisheries Sub-station (responsible for water quality analysis, red tide identification and experimental environmental studies). Details of the responsibilities of the AFCD are listed in Appendix I. Recreational fishing facilities development In view of a growing demand for recreational fishing facilities and the wish of some mariculturists to allow recreational fishing for visitors on their fish rafts, the AFCD began a trial permitting recreational fishing on the rafts at Yung Shue Au and Kau Sai Fish Culture Zones in August 2002. The mariculturists have to ensure that their facilities and operation of the fish rafts meet the standards listed in the safety certification issued by marine

17

Owing to much agricultural land in the New Territories having been resumed or assembled for urban development (Lam & Lai, 2002).

12


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

surveyors 18 . According to the AFCD, this recreational fishing activity did not make any unacceptable impact on water quality or fish culture. The trial was also well received by the public and participating mariculturists. In January 2003, the AFCD began extending the trial scheme to other fish culture zones and by 29th February 2004, eight19 fish culture zones had joined the scheme. Industry promotion and support There has been a relatively low emphasis on primary production in Hong Kong (Wong, 1995) and Government policy has been geared towards reducing the impact of mariculture on water quality and focusing on the development of a balanced moist feed diet to mixed fish (Wilson, 1997). However, although this industry has a chance to develop in a sustainable way, the diminishing aquaculture industry will end as a result of the present unfavourable situation (urban development, adverse water quality, unsustainable feeding practice using mixed fish, low-tech rearing techniques, high dependence on wild-caught fry and economic species, etc.) if it does not receive direct or substantial assistance from the Government. In addition, the regulatory nature and position of existing Government policy towards aquaculture hinders its development rather than playing a role in enhancing this primary production industry. Laws and regulations20 applicable to the fish farming industry: Cap 28 Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance — Special rates listed in Schedule 1, etc Under Part II of Cap 28A (Special Rates), “Cultivation” (including flower and grass growing, fish pond, threshing floor, salt pan and like use) and “Water Supply - Agricultural21” (including intakes, pipelines, wells, reservoirs, pumphouses) are charged at HK$20 per hectare per annum and HK$10 per annum per installation, respectively. Cap 116 Rating Ordinance — Controls the computation of rates payable, interpretation and exemption from assessment of agricultural land, etc.

18

See http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200208/16/0816116.htm. Eight FCZs include Kai Lung Wan, Kau Sai, Lo Fu Wat, Sham Wan, Tai Tau Chau, Tap Mun, Tung Lung Chau and Yung Shue Au. 20 For details of each Ordinance, please refer to the Bilingual Laws Information System of the Department of Justice. www.legislation.gov.hk . 21 According to Cap 1080, “agriculture” includes all forms of aquaculture. 19

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Section 18 (Computation of rates payable) states “A supply of fresh or unfiltered water shall be deemed to be available to a tenement (for which an unfiltered supply of fresh water is available from a Government water-main, or for which no supply of freshwater is available from a Government water-main) from a Government water-main, even if the tenement is not connected to a Government water-main, if the tenement is situated within 180 metres of a Government water-main which has been constructed for the purpose of supplying fresh water or unfiltered water directly to tenements”. But under Section 36 (Exemption of certain tenements from assessment), “agricultural land 22 , and any building, other than a dwelling house, thereon used wholly or mainly in connection with such land, but not land which is part of an ornamental park, garden or pleasure ground or which is used wholly or mainly for the purpose of sport or recreation” “shall be exempt from assessment to rate”. Cap 127 Foreshore and Seabed (Reclamations) Ordinance — Allows claims for compensation due to reclamation, etc. By Section 12 (Claims for compensation), after the issue of the notice or authorization and invitation to claim for compensation and before the expiry of the time specified in the notice, “any person who claims that his interests, right or easement in or such foreshore and seabed will be injuriously affected by the reclamation may deliver to the Director of Lands a written claim stating the sum of money which he is willing to accept in full and final settlement of his claim together with such particulars as he may possess to substantiate the claim and shall furnish to the Director of Lands such accounts, documents and further particulars as the Director may request him to furnish, in support of the claim”. Cap 131 Town Planning Ordinance — Concerns the development plan, taking possession and disposal of property from affected areas, etc. The Town Planning Ordinance was amended in 1991, extending its jurisdiction to cover the whole territory and allowing for direct enforcement against unauthorized development in selected areas. The Ordinance requires developers to apply for permission to change the use of the land (Wong, 1995). Major fish ponds were included in statutory “interim development permission areas” so that any change in use or development after the date of designation of an “interim development permission area” required 22

“Agricultural land” in this section means land used as farm land, a fish pond, a market garden, a nursery ground, an orchard or for animal husbandry.

14


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

planning permission. But “existing users” (users that had already existed immediately before the date of designation) can continue (Ho & Lai, 2002). The argument was run, however that an “agriculture zone” is a zoning class that is designated with a ‘planning intention’ as against major or permanent development to conserve private agricultural land, whether still under active cultivation or lying fallow. As a result, the Town Planning Board may allow on application the construction of a ‘small house’ and any temporary use (including open storage) not exceeding two years. The Town Planning Board gives effect to the stated “planning intention” for the agriculture zones to conserve farmland, except where it conflicts with the housing needs of indigenous villagers. The operator of a farm needs to pay professional fees to an ‘authorised person’ to submit building plans and to pay fees to the Building Authority for considering building plans submitted for such building work as a farmhouse or storage shed. By and large, the enforcement of Town Planning Ordinance appears to be highly cost-ineffective. As the private agricultural land resources are economically under-utilised, attention should be drawn from agriculture land-use policymakers and theorists. On economic analysis, a planning intention to conserve these resources for “rehabilitation for cultivation purposes” is considered unrealistic. The Town Planning Board policy favouring the highly inefficient use of land for “small houses” is a way to ameliorate local resistance to the imposition of agriculture zoning but which, in fact, defeats the conservation purpose of the class (Chau & Lai, 2004). Under Section 2 of Cap 131C (Town Planning (Taking Possession and Disposal of Property) Regulations), “where any part of the property is perishable, or is a live animal, bird or fish, the removal notice shall, as regards the perishable or hazardous property, specify an earlier date by which the perishable or hazardous property shall be removed from that land, and the Authority (Director of Planning) may cause immediate disposal of the perishable or hazardous property by sale or otherwise as the Authority thinks fit”. But in the real world, if a fish culture facility is forced to close down, it would be difficult for the fish farmers to find somewhere suitable to accommodate the enormous number of fish (especially those not ready to be sold to the market) before “an earlier date” by making use of the Government compensation to the proprietors for land resumption. Cap 132 Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance — Definitions of food (except live fish), metallic contamination, etc.

15


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Under Section 2 (Interpretation), although “animal” does not include “fish23” and “food” does not include “live fish”, live fish can be deemed as food for the purpose “for the prohibition, restriction or regulation of the sale, or possession, offer or exposure for sale or consignment or delivery for sale in the interests of public health or for the protection of the public” (Section 57). Under Section 3 (Cap 132V), this Ordinance also prohibits the import, consignment, delivery, manufacturing or sale of food containing metals (except where naturally present up to certain limits). In fact, according to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), they have never confiscated live fish. In some cases of ciguatera fish poisoning, the fish traders voluntarily surrendered and disposed of the suspected ciguatoxin-containing fish. In our previous report on marine policy, Willmott (2000) recommended that the Government classify live fish as “food” under health regulations so as to allow itself greater monitoring power and so those intending to import live fish require the permission of the FEHD. Cap 133 Pesticides Ordinance — Controls the manufacture, sale, and offering of pesticides, etc. This Ordinance primarily provides for the registration and control of registered pesticides including the importing, packaging, labeling, storage, sale and transport of all agricultural pesticides. However, there are no specific codes of practice for using biocides in aquaculture (Wong, 1995). Cap 137 Antibiotics Ordinance — Controls the sale and supply of antibiotics, etc. The controls under this Ordinance under Section 6 (permits to deal in and to possess certain antibiotic substances), mean that a fish culturist must obtain a permit from the Director of the AFCD to possess antibiotics for the purpose of veterinary treatment of fish. This requirement delays the treatment of sick fish, which in turn can result in the total loss of the investment. Cap 138 Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance — Controls the sale and possession of poisons, etc. 23

According to Cap 132, “fish” means “all fish commonly used for human consumption and also means any other fish which is sold or offered for sale for human consumption”.

16


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Under Section 2 (Interpretation), “poison” is a substance which is specified on the Poison List (substances required by regulations to be sold by retail only upon a prescription given by a registered medical practitioner, registered dentist or registered veterinary surgeon). As a result, similar to the case of the use and possession of antibiotics, these practices delay the remedy or the quarantining of fish. In any event, the use of hormones or other poisons is considered to be costly, and there are difficulties in administering the substances to fish fed with mixed fish (Wong, 1995). Cap 139 Public Health (Animals & Birds) Ordinance — Consolidates and amends the laws relating to quarantine and the prevention of disease among animals and birds, etc. Live fish are not subject to this Ordinance which defines “animal” as cattle, sheep, goats, all other ruminating animals, swine, equines, and all other warm-blooded vertebrates except man, birds, and reptiles under Section 2 (Interpretation). Although it is important to quarantine all imported live fish 24 , there are no laws in the HKSAR requiring it, in view of the large volume of fish entering Hong Kong from different countries via different forms of transportation. A quarantine service may be cost-inefficient and beyond the financial means of the industry (Wong, 1995). However, from the food safety point of view, a centralized hub for loading fish would be useful for tracing the countries of origin of live fish (especially for live reef food fish) in cases of occasional ciguatera or cholera outbreaks. Such a hub would also facilitate the quarantine of imported fish. Cap 171 Fisheries Protection Ordinance — Promotes the conservation of fish and other forms of aquatic life within Hong Kong waters 25 , and regulates fishing practices and prevents activities detrimental to the fishing industry. Under Regulation 5 of the Fisheries Protection Regulations, the Director of the AFCD may exempt a person carrying on any bona fide business of fish culture in ponds or artificial enclosed waters from any of the regulations.

24

Culturists do quarantine their fish before putting them into their ponds or cages by themselves. “Waters of Hong Kong” or “Hong Kong waters” means “all waters, whether navigable or not, included in the HKSAR” under Cap 1 (Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance). 25

17


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

However other measures available under this Ordinance have not been used. Government should require an increase in mesh size to decrease the catch of small fry and by-catch (Willmott, 2000). Bottom trawling fishing should also be discouraged in order to avoid catching commercial demersal species in the juvenile stage and destroying the marine benthic habitat. Uncontrolled fishing for mixed fish as fish feeds used in mariculture by highly efficient stern and pair trawlers also has a serious impact on commercial fish recruitment. Although this Ordinance empowers the authority to control and protect species of fish and nursery areas in Hong Kong waters, no fish species have been protected (except for endangered species) (Wilson, 1997). Moreover the establishment and implementing of a management policy should minimize the impact of mariculture industry on natural fish stocks (Chau, 2004). Cap 187 Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance — Restricts the import, export and possession of certain animals and plants. Schedules 1, 2 and 3 list the scheduled animals, animal parts and plants to be protected. Cap 219 Conveyancing and Property Ordinance — Makes provisions relating to conveyancing and the law of property, etc. Under Section 2 (Interpretation), “land” includes land covered by water (e.g. fish ponds). This implies fish ponds are also subject to this Ordinance. Cap 291 Marine Fish (Marketing) Ordinance — Defines marine fish (except fish alive in water), and the operations of the Fishing Marketing Organization (FMO), etc. Under Section 2 (Interpretation), “marine fish” means “any fish or part thereof, whether fresh or processed, in any manner indigenous in sea water or partly in fresh water and partly in sea water, including any product derived therefrom, but excluding all crustaceans or mollusks and fish alive and in water”. Fishermen can therefore sell live catches on their own, without going through the FMO. Moreover, this Ordinance does not control the import, export and sales of live marine fish. It is not rare to find local fishermen selling their catches (including the mixed fish) directly to mariculturists at higher prices not through the FMO (Wilson, 1997). By and large, the sale of live marine fish is not regulated, leading to a completely 18


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

free market, which may not help fish farmers (especially small scale individual operators) market their harvests. Cap 353 Marine Fish Culture Ordinance — Regulates and protects marine fish culture, restricts behaviour within a fish culture zone, application, transfer, grant, cancellation of licences and permits, etc. Under Section 2 (Interpretation), “fish culture” is defined as “any operation involving the maintenance, propagation or promotion of growth of fish in captivity within the waters of Hong Kong”. As mentioned previously, “waters of Hong Kong” or “Hong Kong waters” include both privately owned and Government owned land (e.g. inland fish ponds) and are also therefore subject to this Ordinance 26 . Before 7th June 2002, a marine fish culture licence was not transferable. However since then, mariculturists who have owned a marine fish culture licence for at least two years can now apply for a transfer of this licence at a fee of HK$ 180. According to the AFCD, this measure will provide a channel for those who want to invest in fish culture to enlarge their scale of production by adopting modern husbandry practices. By doing so, they believe the sustainability of the fish culture industry can be increased by better economies of scale and enhanced competitiveness. Under Section 9 (Cancellation of licences), the Director of the AFCD may cancel a licence if “the licensee has failed or is unable or incompetent to carry out the purpose of his license, or failed to provide adequate management or supervision of any raft or impoundment in respect of which the licence is valid”. As a result, a mariculturist has to keep some fish in his cages to avoid his licence being cancelled and to keep alive his opportunity to receive the ex-gratia allowance27 from the Government in the future (Ho & Lai, 2002; Sadovy & Lau, 2002; Wong, 1995; Wonga, 2000). This Ordinance has no regulations to protect the marine environment either in terms of pollutants emitted from the culture farms, or of the type of feed used (Chau, 2004). In practice, zoning must be accompanied by control measures that limit farm numbers (or fish output or feed inputs) to ensure that effluent loads remain within the capacity of the environment to assimilate wastes 26

This, however, raises the question of non-marine freshwater fish being kept in the “waters of Hong Kong”. 27 From 1979 to 1999, the Government spent a total of HK$267 million as financial assistance to fishing and fish culture (e.g. outbreaks of red tide, lands resumption for Government development projects, heavy rainstorms, typhoons, compensation for silting and pollution from local construction works) (Lai, 2002).

19


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

(Phillips, 1998). Although discharges from the original floating net cage culture operations were presumably diffuse and in small quantities (Wong, 1995), mariculture does discharge high levels of organic and nutritional matter 28 into the sediment and the surrounding coastal waters which should be taken into account (Lam, 1990; Wu, 1995; Yang et al., 2005). This Ordinance was intended to (1) create specific areas for marine culture as at the date of enactment, (2) allow new areas to be zoned to be within the marine culture zone, and (3) to target small scale fish culturists but not large scale commercial operations. It appears there is an attempt to achieve the purpose of this Ordinance by punitive measures rather than supportive means (Leung, 2002), contrary to the recommended role of Government as described in the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (aquaculture development) instead (FAO, 1995, 1997). Unlike marine fish cage culture, inland freshwater fish pond culture has no direct legislative or licensing controls29. The Lands Department is responsible for granting the lease of Crown Land on which the fish ponds exist. In addition, the Town Planning Ordinance controls land use such that any change in land use has to be approved by the Planning Department (Wong, 1995). Cap 354 Waste Disposal Ordinance — Concerned with waste disposal and its influence on gathering grounds adjacent to waterways and saline waters, etc. Under Section 3 (Preparation of draft waste disposal plans), “wastes discharged into water as solids suspended in effluents” are not subject to the waste disposal plan requirements under this Ordinance, implying effluents from the fish culture activities are not controlled. On the other hand, Regulation 8 (Liquid livestock waste) of the Waste Disposal (Livestock Waste) Regulations states that “any liquid livestock waste generated or produced in or on livestock premises in a livestock waste control area or livestock waste restriction area shall be disposed of by the livestock keeper by discharging that waste through properly constructed channels into a soakway-pit situated not less than 30 metres from any reservoir, saline waters, spring, watercourse or well for potable use”. As a result, fish ponds and FCZs should be 28

Organic and nutritional matters are generated mainly by feed wastage, fish excretion and faecal production (Wu, 1995). 29 The Marine Fish Culture Ordinance may possibly regulate pond fish culture in Hong Kong.

20


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

protected from pollutants generated by livestock although the adequacy of 30 metres is questionable. Cap 358 Water Pollution Control Ordinance — Controls water quality in water control zones, permits deposits from fish farming, etc. Under Section 12 (Defences), it states that “The Director of Environmental Protection may by order published in the Gazette approve the making of any particular kind of deposit as a farming practice, including agriculture, animal husbandry and fish farming”. As a result, similar to the situation in Cap 354, effluents from fish culture activities are also not controlled. Cap 499 Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance — Controls the development of certain projects (e.g. dredging, effluent of waste water, etc.) depending on their environmental effects, etc. Schedule 2 designates projects that require environmental permits: depending on their size and distance from a FCZ these include large reclamation works, marine dumping areas, certain dredging operations, sewage treatment works and pumping stations, drainage channels or river training and diversion works, an FCZ of more than 5 hectares or a boundary of less than 500 metres from the nearest marine park, marine reserve or bathing beach), etc. But projects including earthworks relating to forestry, agriculture, fisheries and the management of vegetation, and New Territories exempted houses, which could affect the freshwater pond fish culture operations, do not require an environmental permit. Cap 1080 Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund Ordinance — Manages the fund. Section 6 states that the expression “agriculture” includes all forms of aquaculture, and accordingly fish farmers can apply for aid from the fund. This is the only mention of “aquaculture” (which is related to aquaculture practice) in the legislation30 of the HKSAR. However, no definition or interpretation of aquaculture is given.

30

The term “aquaculture” is also mentioned in Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap 542) and Organization for the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific Notification (Cap 190F) under International Organisations and Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance (Cap 190), which are not related to aquaculture practice.

21


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Suggestions for changes to the existing regulatory framework To sum up, with regard to fish farming activities in HKSAR, the existing regulatory framework should: —

treat live fish as food items for human consumption;

—

review the “grey areas” in the Town Planning Ordinance, Cap 131;

—

facilitate the use of drugs for curing fish diseases;

—

prohibit fishermen from catching juvenile fish as fish feed and trawling activities under the Fisheries Protection Ordinance, Cap 171;

—

review the old-fashioned Marine Fish (Marketing) Ordinance, Cap 291, so as to regulate and facilitate the trade of live food fish (freshwater and marine);

—

promote large scale fish culture activities and prohibit the use of mixed fish as fish feed in order to reach the ultimate goal of sustainability;

—

control the effluents from the fish culture activities;

—

protect fish culture facilities (including inland fish ponds and FCZs) from pollution, and reduce the impact of their effluents (various Ordinances);

—

simplify the application of the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund.

22


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

SECTION 2 2.1

QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY

INCEPTION In order to collect feedback on the current status and suggestions for future sustainable development of the local fish culture industry from the public sector, non-government organisations (NGOs) and stakeholders, a questionnaire (in Chinese and English) was designed to highlight some factors (Q1) and suggestions (Q3) for the development of this industry. The questionnaire was also intended to raise awareness of existing laws and regulations (Q2) associated with the industry (see Appendix III). A simplified version (only for Q2) had to be developed for culturists (in Chinese and English) as most culturists knew little about the Ordinances and a shorter and simpler questionnaire produced a less negative effect.

2.2

SURVEY Questionnaires (N = 78) were sent to the HKSAR Government departments and bureaux31, green groups32, trade associations and clubs 33 , academia 34 , international organizations 35 , overseas governmental authorities 36 , private companies and other individuals37 (this category is referred as “non-culturists� in this report). Publicity of this questionnaire survey was also posted on the e-Newsletter of the Asia-Pacific Marine Finfish Aquaculture Network (Issue No.20 on 21st January 2005).

31

Including Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Economic Development and Labour Bureau, Environmental Protection Department, Environment, Transport and Works Bureau, Health, Welfare and Food Bureau, Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau, Lands Department, Planning Department, Sustainable Development Unit and Trade and Industry Department. 32 Including Conservancy Association, Friends of the Earth, Green Lantau Association, Green Peng Chau Association, Green Power, Greenpeace China, Hong Kong Marine Conservation Society, Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, TRAFFIC East Asia, World Wide Fund For Nature Hong Kong. 33 Including Aberdeen Fishery & Seafood Merchants Association, Hong Kong Chamber of Seafood Merchants, Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, Hong Kong Fresh Fish Merchants Association, Hong Kong New Territories Fish Culture Association, Federation of Hong Kong Aquaculture Association, Joint Associations of Hong Kong Fishermen, Joint Committee of Hong Kong Fishermen's Organizations; Hong Kong Koi Club and Leisure Fishery. 34 Including the City University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong, HKU Kadoorie Research Centre, James Cook University, Jinan University, Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute and University of British Columbia. 35 Including Asia-Pacific Marine Finfish Aquaculture Network, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Global Aquaculture Alliance, Marine Aquarium Council, Marine Stewardship Council, 36 Including authorities in Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, AgriFood and Veterinary Authority of Singapore and Taiwan Fisheries Agency. 37 Including those who have experience with and knowledge of the local aquaculture industry.

23


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

We conducted interviews and field visits from 11th January to 25th March 2005. In order to cover a target sample size of 20% of all culturists38, 8 FCZs39 with 40% of all licence-holders40 and 31.5% of total FCZs’ area41 were to be visited. Due to the remoteness and scattered locations of the other FCZs and fish ponds (apart from those pond fish farmers already in the contact list), we distributed the questionnaires to the culturists through their associations42 in order to have as much publicity in the industry as possible.

2.3

RESULTS Of the 78 non-culturist departments, organizations and individuals, 22 returned completed questionnaires (response rate at 28.2%). None of the Government departments or bureaux completed a questionnaire. For culturists, 53 questionnaires were completed of which 3543 were filled during field visits to the FCZs (response rate at 87.5%). In terms of the size of culture facilities owned by respondents, 31,855 sq. metres of FCZs and 556,300 sq. metres of fish ponds were covered by returned questionnaires. For the field visits to the FCZs, a total of 778 out of 2,288 (34%) licensed rafts were visited, representing 40%of all licensees (454 out of 1,123) in Hong Kong although only 35 interviews were made. Only 4 fish pond fish farmers and the Hong Kong New Territories Fish Culture Association were visited during the research period, due to the remoteness of the scattered fish ponds in the New Territories and the lack of a map or list of pond fish farmers from either the Lands Department or the AFCD. It was found that the culturists had been operating their facilities for more than 28 years on average, the oldest mariculturist being 77 years old.

38

123 out of 613 pond fish farmers and 231 out of 1157 licensed mariculturists (based on 2003 statistics) Including Cheung Sha Wan, Kai Lung Wan, Kau Sai, Leung Shuen Wan, Lo Tik Wan, Ma Nam Wat, Sok Kwu Wan and Tai Tau Chau. 40 Based on 2005 AFCD statistics (as at 31st January 2005), the 8 FCZs comprised 454 out of 1,123 licensed mariculturists. 41 Based on 2005 AFCD statistics (as at 31st January 2005), the 8 FCZs comprised 658,045 out of 2,091,845 square metres of all FCZs. 42 Including Hong Kong New Territories Fish Culture Association, Federation of Hong Kong Aquaculture Association, Joint Associations of Hong Kong Fishermen and Joint Committee of Hong Kong Fishermen's Organizations. 43 A total of 40 culturists were encountered but 5 refused to engage in an interview; the reasons for such a relatively small portion of mariculturists included limitations on resources and time, and quite a few of the mariculturists encountered were on their rafts during visits. 39

24


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

2.3.1

QUESTION 1 – CONDITIONS Q1.1 to Q1.8 for both culturists (N = 53) and non-culturists (N = 20): For Q1.1, which attempted to gain an understanding of whether related ordinances can impact the sustainable development of the industry, 70% of the responding culturists had no comments. 44 However 13% said that relevant Ordinances in Hong Kong will facilitate sustainable development in aquaculture, while 17% said they will not. Strict regulations with too many restrictions were the major “complaints”. For non-culturists, almost half of the respondents (55% of 20) made no comments45, while 20% said that these ordinances will facilitate sustainable development in aquaculture, while 25% said they will not. The reasons for the latter included the absence of controls of self-pollution on the rafts, strict limitations on the size and location of the fish cages in the FCZs, and the belief that the Ordinances do not promote aquaculture. For Q1.2, which aimed at understanding the impact of favourable water quality on the sustainable development of the industry, no respondent (for both culturists and non-culturists) denied it was a crucial factor for development. In fact, 96% of the responding culturists and 95% of non-culturists agreed it was imperative 46 . Concerns were raised about the current water quality in Hong Kong not being suitable for fish farming: regional pollution, dredging projects and fish diseases associated with poor water quality were regarded as jeopardizing the fish culture industry. For Q1.3, on understanding the impact of financial assistance from the Government on the sustainable development of the industry, 75% of the culturists 47 thought the financial assistance from the Government would be useful for development as money is needed to buy feed and equipment, and maintain the operations. However, the respondents also felt that such financial assistance would not be useful because: (1) there is no future development opportunity; (2) they would need to return the loan; and (3) they are too old to make further investment. As for non-culturists, 65% believed that financial assistance would be able to facilitate the development (e.g. testing of hygiene of

44

Mostly because the respondents had never read the Ordinance(s). Similar to culturists, those with no comments on Q1.1 had never read the Ordinance(s). 46 The remaining 4% and 5% had no comments because they thought such assumption was impossible. 47 All pond fish farmers (N=20) chose “Pro” for Q1.3 (see Section 2.4 for evaluation); and no culturists selected “Con”. 45

25


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

products, promotion of techniques and training, water supply system and other facilities, investment in new technology, encouraging the culturists to adopt sustainable approaches during operation, and other benefits 48 etc.). A further 20% argued financial subsidies (in form of grant or loan, e.g. red tide compensation) would not promote the sustainable development of aquaculture49. These respondents suggested investment from the private sector would be much better. For Q1.4, concerning whether technical support from the government would impact the sustainable development of the industry, 77% and 95% of the culturists 50 and non-culturists 51 respectively suggested technical support from the Government would facilitate development. Of the culturists who thought that government technical assistance would not assist the sustainable development of the industry (4%)52 , a key reason stated was some of the AFCD technical staff were too inexperienced (this might be due to limitation of human resources in the Government as suggested by a non-culturist respondent). For Q1.5, which attempted to gain an understanding of whether urban development near culture areas would impact the sustainable development of the industry, 87% of the culturists believed development would have a negative impact because of the introduction of pollutants into the waters. However, 9% thought that development would make it easier for the culturists to feed fish (improvement in transportation due to more people visiting the new development) and provide a good opportunity to acquire ex-gratia grants from the Government. For non-culturists, 15% thought that urban development would facilitate aquaculture development and 45%53 thought that it would not. Similar to the findings from the culturists, the reason for the negative responses (“Con”) was pollution resulting from development. For the positive responses (“Pro”), it was suggested that, depending on the type of development, intensive integrated operations would benefit from being located closer to associated production materials (i.e. construction, feeds, energy resources) in the culture area. In addition the rising eco-tourism opportunities created by developing nearby areas may raise public awareness of 48

In China, being able to obtain such funding not only means financial gain, but also means a matter of honour and recognition. It also means easier operating support from related government departments. 49 Other unsuccessful examples can be found in fisheries and agriculture. 50 All pond fish farmers (N=20) chose “Pro” for Q1.4 (see Section 2.4 for evaluation). 51 The remaining 5% had no comment because the respondent doubted if the appointee had actual experience in fish culture. 52 The remaining 19% of the culturists had no comments. 53 The remaining 40% of the non-culturists made no comments.

26


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

aquaculture and possibly attract talent into the industry, and it may also reduce the financial impact of its seasonal nature. For Q1.6, on understanding whether pollution from the nearby environment would impact the sustainable development of the industry, all of the respondents (discounting the 2% of the culturists and 45% of the non-culturists who gave no comments) felt pollution from nearby environments would not facilitate the development of aquaculture, which is complementary to Q1.2. Interestingly, a non-culturist suggested some “pollution” activities (e.g. tourism, recreational fishing) can become meaningful inputs to fish culture, but should be carefully monitored. For Q1.7, on whether the availability of suitable sites for fish culture would impact the sustainable development of the industry, 74% of the culturists felt that the presence of such sites would facilitate the development of fish culture. All pond fish farmers agreed on this. 42% of mariculturists did not give any comments mainly because they could not believe there would be new sites for fish culture and they thought it would be costly and inconvenient for them to move. For non-culturists, 60% of the respondents did support this, but suggested the implementation of a fallow system in which area fish culture will be suspended for 2 years to facilitate recovery of the polluted sediment by natural sea current, etc. 30% had no comments54. For Q1.8, on understanding whether good fry supply would impact the sustainable development of the industry, 85% of the culturists and 95% of the non-culturists 55 stated that it would facilitate development. Apart from 24% of mariculturists who gave no comments56, all of the remaining culturists did agree with the importance of fry supply. Among those non-culturists choosing “Pro” responses, their reasons included the necessity of having a good, cheap and stable fry supply from a full-cycle hatchery with a high survival rate. They felt the Government should consider requiring quarantine or health certificates for the importation of live fish fry, set up a modern hatchery and kickstart the industry by establishing an investment company to drive the hatchery business commercially.

54

The remaining 10% (N=2) chose “Con” without giving any reasons. The remaining 5% gave no comments. 56 Reasons for giving no comments include low survival rate of fry, high cost of fry, inferior flesh texture of hatchery produced fish, and the fact that they felt they were too old to invest further in buying fry to culture. 55

27


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Summary of Question 1 responses To sum up, culturists generally considered favourable water quality, financial assistance and technical support from the Government, availability of suitable fish culture sites and good fry supply to be the facilitating factors for sustainable development in the fish culture industry. For non-culturists, favourable water quality, technical support from the Government and good fry supply were regarded as the crucial facilitating factors. In addition, almost all respondents considered pollution from the nearby environments (possibly associated with development near the culture areas) to be a major obstacle for the development of this industry.

2.3.2

QUESTION 2 – RELATED ORDINANCES This section summarizes the results of Q2 for both culturists (N = 53) and non-culturists (N = 1857). Q2 was designed to gain an understanding of how certain Ordinances impact the sustainable development of the industry. Almost all culturists58 had no specific comments on the Ordinances relevant to the industry because they had never read them, with the exception of two respondents who suggested that the charge for land conversion from filling fish ponds into non-agricultural uses and the compensation for agricultural users should be increased, and that there are too many constraints on the regulations on recreational fishing (e.g. barbeques are not permitted). As the non-culturists might not be familiar with the laws, it was not surprising to find more than 50% of the respondents gave no comments on specific Ordinances (Table 5). In order to analyse the feedback from non-culturists for Q2, the percentage of “No comment� responses was not considered in order to obtain a clear picture of the feedback from those who have a better understanding of each Ordinance 59 . All respondents objected to Cap 28 (Land (Misc. Provisions) Ordinance) suggesting high land rates will increase cost, Cap 116 (Rating Ordinance) as it was a risky business not protected by insurance and Cap 131 (Town Planning Ordinance) as the Ordinance does not consider

57

4 respondents did not complete Q.2 as they were not familiar with the ordinances in Hong Kong. 51 out of 53 respondents. 59 As the sample size and the response rate of each section of Q2 were relatively small, this section does not necessarily represent the views of all non-culturists. 58

28


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

the industry most of the time, seems to ignore the existence of culture sites, and cannot help with promoting the industry. On the other hand, for Cap 133 (Pesticides Ordinance), Cap 137 (Antibiotics Ordinance), Cap 138 (Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance), Cap 139 (Public Health (Animals & Birds) Ordinance), Cap 187 (Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance), Cap 354 (Waste Disposal Ordinance) and Cap 358 (Water Pollution Control Ordinance), all respondents were found to be supportive. Supporting reasons for these ordinances included controls on pesticides, anti-biotics and drugs for food safety (Caps 133, 137 and 138); controls on importation, exportation and possession of animals (but fish should be included) are good for long-term development (Cap 187); beneficial to longterm development (Cap 358). For Cap 127 (Foreshore and Seabed (Reclamations) Ordinance), 60%of non-culturists were supportive while 40% did not support this Ordinance60. The implementation of the most aquaculture-related Ordinances, Caps 171 (Fisheries Protection Ordinance) and Cap 353 (Marine Fish Culture Ordinance), was supported by about two-third of the respondents61. Opposing comments to Cap 171 included: seems unrelated to fish farming, no active policy to help fish farmers, and has not prevented local fry from wild-caught stocks becoming much rarer than they used to be. While for Cap 354 (Waste Disposal Ordinance), one respondent suggested that FCZs should be properly planned, and only used for culture of marine fish (not for shellfish or crustaceans) in order to reduce the chance of contamination. About 80% of the respondents supported Cap 132 (Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance), Cap 291(Marine Fish (Marketing) Ordinance), Cap 499 (Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance) and Cap 1080 (Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund Ordinance) and respondents supportive of Cap 132 suggested that this ordinance could protect the health of citizens, if and only if, live fish are regarded as food. For Cap 291, it was recommended that a similar Ordinance be implemented for freshwater fish for promotional purposes, but suggestions for 60

Although one respondent stated this Ordinance could protect the culturists from the adverse effects caused by reclamation, opposing voices felt that there were many loopholes in the legislation allowing for non-payment of compensation to culturists, insufficient compensation, and no consultation with the aquaculture sector. 61 Reasons to support the ordinance include good for long-term development, allow farmers to culture fish in designated areas, control the maximum number of farmable area to avoid over-crowding, effectively control mariculture industry, and amendments should be make to Cap 353.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

modifying this outdated Ordinance and necessarily establishing a centralized market for live fish with easy access to clean water and other subsidiary infrastructure were made. For Cap 499, apart from the opposing view of classifying this Ordinance as unhelpful in promoting the industry, supportive opinions were related to long-term development and the belief that it would be good for the industry to get compensation. For Cap 1080, although it was thought to be beneficial for development and helpful to culturists, some respondents commented that the application of the fund is too strict and complicated, and the amount is insufficient for longterm development.

2.4.3

QUESTION 3 - SUGGESTIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT This section summarizes the suggestions and comments made by respondents in order to foster the sustainable development of the industry. Results include both culturists and non-culturists responses:

Culture practices: Rotational use of FCZs

Implement rotational use of the FCZs so that there would be sufficient time (e.g. 2 years) for sea currents to naturally flush sediments accumulated on the seabed under the fish cages62.

Research on hatchery and fish feeds

Promote research and development on fish fry production, hatchery and artificial feeds.

Bio-filters

Use mussels to serve as bio-filters in the fish cages and earn additional revenue for the culturists.

Indoor on-land culture facility

Set up indoor on-land culture facility63 (for both marine and freshwater) with water reuse and recycling systems64 to achieve controllable culturing environments (e.g. water temperature, artificial sea water) and recycle the excreted wastes as fertilizers.

Higher water temperature

Make use of the cooling water (higher temperature) from power stations for aquaculture65.

62

According to the respondent, this idea was rejected by the Government because of limitation of space. Government provides culturists with unused lands (e.g. space under the flyover) and offers a special rate for usage of electricity. 64 To avoid escapes of exotic organisms and contamination from the facility to the surrounding environment. 65 Such an act is not allowed under the current conditional requirements in the contract between the Government and the power company (personal communication with Patrick S.W. Chan, 11th January 2005). 63

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

24-hour operation of fish cages

Ensure large-scale fish cages have enough full-time staff to safeguard and take care of the fish on a 24-hour basis (especially during adverse and unexpected incidence, e.g. red tides, typhoons, oil spills, etc.).

Research on fish texture and taste

Improve the texture and taste66 of cultured fish by carrying out research in order to enhance its market competitiveness and change the public misconceptions.

Survey on the BOD and sediment accumulation in FCZs

Carry out a comprehensive survey on the biological oxygen demand (BOD) and sediment accumulation of all FCZs during various environmental conditions (e.g. different seasons, during high tide and low tide, etc) so as to investigate and improve the situations of each FCZ.

Introduction of new herbivorous species

Ensure the Government plays an active role in introducing new herbivorous67 fish species with high tolerances of water temperature68 and disease, and those with competitive power and market value.

Space for storage on Allow storage space (especially for considerable quantity of raft feeds) on the rafts (especially for FCZs without access to land transportation). Laboratory for fish disease research and monitoring

Set up a fish disease research and monitoring laboratory as the existing technical support on fish disease is insufficient and inefficient (pathological tests may take 2 to 3 weeks), and relax controls on the use and possession of drugs.

Local hatchery

Set up a hatchery for the production of fish fry (through research and development) at a considerable and economically sustaining scale for local consumption and exports, and promote using hatchery-produced fry or fingerlings instead of wild-caught.

Sustainable fish feeds

Ensure fish feeds originate from sustainable sources (even for artificial feeds as the fish meal may unsustainably come from wild fishery resources).

Integrated aquaculture

Promote integrated aquaculture (e.g. macroalgae, bivalves and fish)69 and polyculture to produce secondary crops and improve sustainability.

Availability of pellet feed

Ensure pellet feed is conveniently available in all FMO fish wholesale markets for culturists to purchase.

66

It was suggested that water quality (e.g. algal content) and the quality and quantity of amino acids in the fish feed could improve the texture and taste of the fish. 67 From an ecological point of view, the culturing of herbivorous species generally does not require as much feed (especially animal protein), so it is regarded as more sustainable than culturing carnivores. 68 Groupers are not suitable for cultivation in Hong Kong because of the high temperature difference between summer and winter months. 69 But should be treated with caution to avoid bacterial and toxic contamination of shellfish.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Better law enforcement

Enhance the patrolling around the FCZs so as to have better enforcement of the laws (e.g. illegal fishing activities could be observed inside the FCZs, and warn away high-speed vessels passing adjacent to the FCZ as they kill fish fry due to the strong induced turbulence 70).

Reduction in licence Reduce the licence fee for mariculture if there is no improvement fee in the existing infrastructural facilities (e.g. freshwater supply, electricity, pier, etc.) and subsidiary services (e.g. security). Inland fish culture

Establish facilities for inland fish culture with water sources, and issue licences to the fish farmers for better monitoring, which is good for long-term sustainable development.

Facilities for the growout of fish fry

Require facilities to keep fish until they reach 'culturable' size as fish of sizes larger than 10 cm (for groupers) have lower mortality rates than small-size fish fry for mariculture71.

Education for culturists

Educate fish farmers in modern culture techniques, knowledge and management of operations.

Improve information distribution system

Improve the efficiency of the current mariculture information distribution system (e.g. although the detectors recorded high suspended particulate levels in Cheung Sha Wan, no one was informed and no precautionary approaches were taken to prevent fish death72).

Reduction in cage density in FCZs

Increase the space in-between the fish cages in the FCZs because the cages are densely packed and sea current is obstructed.

Policy-related issues: Quota system for fish import

The Government should implement a quota system for imported fish so as to control the market prices of fish by limiting the quantity, and hence increase the competitiveness of locally produced fish (especially in terms of selling price).

Review on loan scheme

The Government should review the existing loan scheme as it is too complicated to apply (mortgage or guarantee by a third party may be required) and not attractive (relatively high interest rate) to culturists.

New policy direction

The Government should re-orientate the position of the current aquaculture-related policy, and should focus more on aquaculture as a source of food fish rather than traditionally too rely on the declining wild-caught fisheries73. Aquaculture has

70

Personal communication with mariculturists on 25th March 2005. Personal communication with Mr. Patrick S.W. Chan (interview on 11th January 2005). 72 Personal communication with a mariculturist on 25th January 2005. 73 Especially for the destructive trawling activities. 71

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

been playing a more important role than wild-caught fisheries since 199574. Independent supportive funds

The Government and the business sector should set up independent supportive funds75 as they would be useful in encouraging a sustainable approach in the early stage. However, it has been suggested that subsidies or grants76 do not promote sustainable development, and are unfair to other businesses.

Large-scale aquaculture facilities

The Government should encourage the business sector to invest in large-scale aquaculture facilities with modern operational techniques, turning aquaculture into an enterprise, and assist it in doing so.

Review on the recreational fishing scheme

The Government should carefully review the current trial permitting the recreational fishing scheme77 as culturists may consider this to be the main objective of keeping a mariculture licence rather than engaging in the ultimate goal of producing food for human consumption.

Redevelopment of the FCZs

The Government should consider using a new approach to cancel or buy-back the licence of a particular mariculturist if they under-utilize the fish cages78 in order to create some unused space for development.

Mariculture in Chinese waters

The Government should coordinate with the Chinese Government to shift the cage culture operations to more opensea locations in Chinese waters (e.g. near the Lema Islands79).

Closure or relocation of polluted culture areas

The Government should close or relocate culture areas that are excessively polluted so the area may recover in the future.

Deep or open sea mariculture

The Government should reactivate research and policy on deep or open sea mariculture.

Long-term policies for development

The Government should establish long-term policies for aquaculture and fisheries development so as to achieve sustainability.

74

Personal communication with Mr. Wong Yung Kan J.P., Legco member. (interview on 12th January 2005). 75 Funds can be used, for example, to encourage culturists to use artificial feeds (offered at cheaper prices rather than being sold at cost) instead of mixed fish. 76 Though some countries like Japan, Malaysia and Thailand do provide grants or subsidies to culturists. 77 Although some culturists interviewed did welcome this scheme and requested a lessening of the existing regulations on recreational fishing in the FCZs. 78 For example, rearing less than a certain amount of fish for a particular period of time under normal environmental conditions. 79 Also known as Dangan Dao – located south of HKSAR.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Cost reduction

The Government should lessen the existing legislation on the entry of foreign labour so that culturists can employ enough workers at lower cost.

Other issues: Food safety – country of origin

Set up a centralized wholesale market for marine and freshwater fish to facilitate the process of quarantining and tracing the origins of all imported fish for food safety purposes.

Fish disease prevention

Control the import and transport of possibly diseased fingerlings or fry (also the water used for transportation) to unaffected areas (e.g. through setting up a quarantine system) as this could pressure fry suppliers to improve the quality and disease status of their stocks.

Food safety – use of chemicals

Ensure chemicals are not being used excessively in fish to protect consumers from exposure.

Fostering local experts

Run educational courses on aquaculture in universities or other tertiary institutes in order to foster local experts.

Training of officers

Train officers in the relevant authorities more effectively as currently they are often inexperienced and lack knowledge about the on-site operations of fish culture.

Marketing of local cultured fish

Actively promote and improve the marketing of locally produced cultured fish as high-quality80, branded and safe-to-eat food so as to lessen the pressure on wild caught fish.

Quality assurance of aquaproducts

Establish a quality standardization system for aquaproducts (assured by the industry, scholars and professionals) in order to push the industry to produce fish reaching the standards, so that locally produced fish can become branded products (monitored by the Government) to increase competitiveness and public faith.

Research on economics

Enhance the research on fishery and aquaculture economics.

Dialogue

Enhance the on-going communication and dialogue between the Government and the sector.

In-depth pilot study Carry out in-depth studies of ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’ before any practice is implemented. Assurance on sustainability

Ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability are all achievable, or it is a waste of time and resources.

Improvement in mariculture practices

Improve mariculture practices as, at present, it may do more harm than good and should be phased out.

80

For example, fish contains low contaminants and the rearing process has a low impact on the environment.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

2.4

EVALUATION Government responses Among 11 governmental departments and bureaux to which a questionnaire was sent on 20th January 2005, only the AFCD, FEHD and Health, Welfare and Food Bureau (HWFB) returned written replies. Although the FEHD plays an important role in ensuring the safety of food for consumption, it was quite surprising to receive feedback from the authority 81 only stating, “we welcome sustainable development of aquaculture industry in Hong Kong such that food safety in seafood can be ensured.” When making further inquiries from the department for more specific comments (especially on the issue of food safety which the department is assumed to be well versed in) by using the questionnaire82, the responding official replied that those in charge of handling my enquiry thought that the questions were irrelevant to the department. The consolidated reply from the AFCD and HWFB, as pointed out by the officer-in-charge, was that the questionnaire “touches on policy areas of other bureaux / departments” so that “it would be inappropriate for HWFB/AFCD to support the suggestions” list in Q3, “which would have policy implications, without consulting the relevant bureaux / departments and studying the preliminary feasibility of the suggestions”. Besides, the respondent also pointed out that “it would be difficult for HWFB/AFCD to spare opinion on variables listed in Q1, not to mention that way the opinion is sought by just saying “Pro”, “Con” or “No comment”’. As a result, no information could be collected from the authorities using the questionnaire. Overall comments on the future of the industry According to on-site communications with the mariculturists encountered during the field visits and the findings from the questionnaire, all marine fish farmers (except the one operating 10,000 square metres of recreational fishing rafts) have a pessimistic view of the future of fish culture industry. On the contrary, it seemed that pond fish farmers were more optimistic about development than the mariculturists (based on the results of Q.1). This might be due to the fact that water quality control in fish ponds is comparatively easier than in the open sea.

81 82

Email received from the officer (on behalf of the Director of the FEHD) on 24th February 2005. Clarification was made through phone conversation on 24th February 2005.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Fish feeds Although most of the mariculturists (from personal observation and other previous studies) use mixed fish as fish feeds, formulated artificial nutrient-balance pellet feeds should be used to replace mixed fish as the only feed for the aquaculture industry (Chau, 2004; EPD, 1990; Leung et al., 1999; Leung et al., 2003; Wilson, 1997; Wu, 1995). This is in order to reduce the problems associated with overfishing related to taking juvenile fish from wild stock. However, further research on the nutritional composition of the pellet feeds should be carried out based on the biology of each cultured species so as to suit the nutritional requirements and feeding behaviours of different species. In addition, it would be desirable to substitute current main ingredients of artificial feeds (fish meal and fish oil) with plant based components (e.g. soy-bean) to achieve long-term sustainable development. Nutrient recycling through microorganisms (bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton by either monoculture or polyculture) and expansion of farming of low trophic or low food conversion ratio species should also be promoted (Cheng, 2004). Water quality Another obvious concern about the sustainable development of aquaculture is water quality, especially for fish cages in the sea, and this is largely influenced by environmental factors. Needless to say, every one agrees that aquaculture requires good water bodies for the organisms to live in. Even though studies and mariculturists83 have indicated that the accumulation of nutrientrich, anoxic sediment under the fish cages in the FCZs is an endogenous threat to the mariculture operation (Lam, 1990; Wong, 2000), the Government regards the discharge from floating net cage culture operations as minor and suggests there is no practical means of monitoring the effluents (Wong, 1995). It has therefore not created any regulations for controlling and monitoring these effluents. Obviously, such a self-polluting phenomenon will not lead to sustainable development and should be mitigated. Financial assistance and other issues Although two different voices about whether the Government (or agency owned by the Government) should provide the industry with financial assistance, it is believed that there will be no 83

Personal communications with culturists and experts in this field.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

remarkable expansion or development in the fish culture industry in the short-term because: (1)

the prevailing endogenous problems (e.g. accumulation of sediments under the cages, low competitive power of cultured fish over imported fish, using mixed fish as fish feeds, etc.) will not be solved;

(2)

there is no opportunity (in terms of the availability of suitable fish culture sites and economic returns) for the industry to become an enterprise which business sectors are willing to put large investment in large-scaled operations with high technology under the current policy of marketfree and laissez-faire (which seems to be inapplicable to the local primary production industry); and

(3)

there is insufficient technical support and a lack of research facilities for dealing with fish diseases and production of full-cycled fish fry 84 which are suitable for being reared under local climatic conditions and with considerable market values.

In order to find innovative ways to promote this historic industry, recommendations for sustainable development were discussed at the beginning of this report. Urban development Conflicts with coastal development and recreational uses creating problems of water quality, can be observed in the FCZs around Kau Sai where a golf course is located. Mariculturists claim that pesticides from the golf course run into the waters during rainfalls, especially in the summer, killing their fish. Besides, the strong turbulence created by high-speed vessels passing through the channel also affects the survival of fish fry reared in the cages because the fry cannot withstand such strong water currents and collide with the net, causing mechanical injuries. Suitable sites According to the AFCD, mariculture in exposed deeper waters in Hong Kong was tested in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately, owing to security problems (not feasible to put guards near or on the rafts), lack of industry support and substantial investment from the fish farmers, these trials went no further. However, with the presence 84

At present, all fish fry (from hatcheries or wild caught) are imported from other countries as the local wild stock had been overfished and such practice is unsustainable.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

of suitable sites and assistance from the Government, these practices should be possible with proper management. Government and green group programmes to support the industry On 20th June 2005, the AFCD launched the voluntary Accredited Fish Farm Scheme to promote local fisheries’ sustainable development and good aquaculture practices85. Applicants are to adopt good aquaculture practices (including not to use drugs or additives to feed fish without instructions from the AFCD or registered vets)., and aquaproducts from accredited fish farms are tested before sale through the Fish Market Organisation’s network with labels for consumers identification. The first batch of products from accredited fish farms is expected to be found in the market in December 2005. According to information provided by a non-culturist, the AFCD is currently using the conservation budget to purchase mixed fish to attract cormorants, herons and egrets away from commercial fish ponds in the Deep Bay area in order to support pond fish culturists. Also, the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong is piloting a programme to subsidise fish pond operators using eco-friendly methods so that the high ecological value of fish ponds could be maintained. However, the effectiveness of such practices is questionable because this inevitably encourages the collection of mixed fish from the wild environment.

85

See http://www.news.gov.hk/en/category/healthandcommunity/050620/html/050620en05007.htm.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

SECTION 3 3.1

CASE STUDIES

SINGAPORE86 Economic value of the industry From 1999 to 2003, annual aquaculture production in Singapore increased from 4,029 metric tonnes (valued at US$7,779,000) to 5,024 metric tonnes (US$ 9,480,000). Mariculture contributed more than 83% of the total aquaculture production, while freshwater and brackish water constituting the rest87. The Singapore Government has no specific grant or annual budget set aside for the aquaculture industry. However it does provide a budget to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) for its operation which includes overseeing the development of aquaculture in Singapore. Government promotion of the industry and other impacting factors Technical assistance The Singapore Government provides the local aquaculture industry with technical assistance through the AVA. The AVA facilitates and provides technical assistance to potential investors, which includes providing information and advice concerning site availability, farming environment and investment requirements. The AVA also offers consultancy services through its commercial arm (i.e. Agrifood Technologies Pte Ltd) to interested investors on aquaculture technology related matters88. Financial assistance With regard to financial assistance, the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) offers various assistance schemes to assist pioneering ventures, small and medium industries, and third party investment possibilities89. Local conditions The waters off Singapore are favourable to aquaculture. There are over 80 small floating net-cage farms in operation along the northern side of the island, and there are strict laws to safeguard

86

Personal communication with Mr. Leslie Cheong of Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (Food Supply and Technology Department) of Singapore. (Emails received from 21st February to 28th June 2005) 87 For mariculture: 3,393 (US$ 4,937,000) of 4,029 metric tonnes in 1999; 4,397 (US$ 5,926,000) of 5,112 metric tonnes in 2000; 3,702 (US$ 5,622,000) of 4,443 metric tonnes in 2001; 4,304 (US$ 4,076,000) of 5,027 metric tonnes in 2002; and 4,371 (US$ 6,795,000) of 5,024 metric tonnes in 2003. 88 More details can be found at the AVA’s website (www.ava.gov.sg). 89 More information regarding the assistance schemes offered by the EDB can be found at the EDB’s website (www.sedb.com.sg).

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

against sea pollution. Culture areas are identified by the AVA based on technical considerations, then cleared with the relevant agencies for navigation, marine conservation, coastal development, etc. However, occasional oil spills from vessels are inevitable due to the heavy navigational traffic and high suspended solids in the water resulting from coastal reclamation works. Prompt action by the Port authorities and related agencies on oil spills and installation of silt screens to prevent silt dispersion have mitigated their impact. Urban development Concerning development near the culture areas, the relevant agency will consult the AVA and other concerned agencies before proceeding. Fish fry supply Good fry supply is recognised as one of the critical parts of the industry and hence the Government has set up a modern hatchery on St. John's Island to address the problem as well as to kick-start the industry by establishing an investment company, Agri-Food Technologies Pte Ltd. (ATP), to drive the hatchery business commercially.

3.2

TAIWAN Economic value of the industry From 1999 to 2003, annual aquaculture production in Taiwan increased from 263,000 metric tonnes to 365,000 metric tonnes, with a mean total value of NT$27.6 billion. For open sea cage culture, the total production increased from 2,091 metric tonnes in 1999 to 8,791 metric tonnes in 2003, while the total value increased from NT$0.44 billion to NT$1.85 billion during the same time period (Cheng, 2004). Every year, the budget to support the aquaculture industry in Taiwan is over NT$300 million90 from the Taiwan Government. The major policy objectives include (1) creating a better production environment and improving the water reuse technology for aquaculture to prevent land subsidence; and (2) enhancing pre-market quality

90

Budget includes pre-market quality test, training and promotion on water reuse technology, and construction of water supply system and public facility for water input and output.

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

and hygienic condition surveillance of aquaculture products to protect consumers’ health91. Government promotion of the industry In view of the increasing awareness of environmental protection and natural resource conservation, and the impacts and challenges faced by the local aquaculture industry, the Taiwanese Government enacts and implements the several practices for promoting the local aquaculture industry92, including developing open marine cage culture and hatchery, setting up on-land facilities and centralized marine water supply system, improving culture operations, etc (see Appendix II for details).

91

Conversation with Mr. Ko Yu Shuan of Fisheries Agency of Taiwan Government (emails received on 24th and 25th January 2005). 92 Conversation with Mr. Chueh C T of Taiwan Fisheries and Marine Technology Consultants Inc. (email received on 28th January 2005).

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Special thanks to the Fan Family Charitable Trust for funding this project. In addition, I would like to thank the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (especially Mr. Chow Wing-kuen, Mr. Jim Chu and Mr. Albert W.W. Leung) for providing figures and support during the advisory and data collection processes. I would also like to thank Mr. Sih Yang SIM of the Asia-Pacific Marine Finfish Aquaculture Network for posting the details of this project in his e-Newsletter. Last but not least, my thanks are given to Mr. Patrick S.W. Chan, Mr. Leslie Cheong of Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, Mr. Chueh C T of Taiwan Fisheries and Marine Technology Consultants Inc., Mr. Ko Yu Shuan of the Fisheries Agency of Taiwan Government, Mr. Lai Loy Chau of the Hong Kong New Territories Fish Culture Association, Mr. Mui Man Fai, Dr. Yvonne Sadovy, Mr. Wong Yung-kan JP, friends in the AFCD, the University of Hong Kong, local and international non-government organizations, stakeholders in the local aquaculture industry and my dear colleagues for contributing their in-depth and invaluable information and comments in preparing this report. Finally, I would like to thank Ms. Lisa Christie, Ms. Christine Loh, Ms. Kylie Uebergang, Mr. Patrick S.W. Chan and Mr. Frazer McGilvray for giving comments in reviewing and editing this report. Last but not least, special thanks are given to my wife, Lillian, to give birth to our beloved Koi (2nd February 2005) during this study.

Author: Thierry Tak-chuen Chan thierrychan@civic-exchange.org

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The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

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2000. (http://www.fao.org/fi/statist/FISOFT/FISHPLUS.asp) FAO/SD. (1996) Science and Technology for Sustainable Development, Part 7 Aquaculture. Sustainable Development Department (SD), FAO. (http://www.fao.org/sd/rtdirect/rtre0011.htm) Han, Z., Lai, L.W.C. and Fan, J. (2002) The ornamental fish retail market in Hong Kong: its evolution and evaluation. Aquaculture Economics and Management, Vol. 6(3/4), p.231-247. Ho, D.C.W. and Lai, L.W.C. (2002) Some design and location factors for culture ponds, pools and cages in Hong Kong. Aquaculture Economics and Management, No. 6(3/4), p. 249-273. Lai, L.W.C. (2002) An overview of research on aquaculture economics and management in Hong Kong. Aquaculture Economics and Management, No. 6(3/4), p.131-152. Lai, L.W.C. and Yu, B.T. (1995) The ‘Hong Kong’ solution to the overfishing problem: a study of the cultured fish industry in Hong Kong. Management and decision economics, Vol. 16, p.525-535. Lai, L.W.C. and Lam, K. (1998) Pond culture of Snakehead in Hong Kong: a case Study of an economic solution to common resources. Aquaculture International, No. 6, p.67-75. Lai, L.W.C. and Leung, P.S. (2004) Economic indicators of sustainable development in fish culture. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), UNESCO (with permission of Nova Science). Lam, C.W.Y. (1990) Pollution effects of marine fish culture in Hong Kong. Asian Marine Biology, Vol. 7, p.1-7. Lam, K.K.H. and Lai, L.W.C. (2002) Goldfish (Chin-yu or Kin-yu) culture practice in Hong Kong. Aquaculture Economics and Management, No. 6(3/4), pp. 275-293. Leung, H.F. (2002) The possible conflicts between profits a prendre and property rights under the Marine Fish Culture Ordinance. Aquaculture Economics and Management, No. 6(3/4), p.167-176. Leung, K.M.Y., Chu, J.C.W. and Wu, R.S.S. (1999) Nitrogen budgets for the areolated grouper Epinephelus areolatus cultured under laboratory conditions and in open-sea cages. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 186, p.271-281. Leung, K.M.Y., Chu, J.C.W. and Wu, R.S.S. (2003) Reducing nitrogen pollution loading from fish farming by changing feeding practices: an example from Hong Kong. Perspectives on Marine Environmental Changes in Hong Kong and Southern China, 19772001 (ed. B. Morton). Proceedings of an International Workshop Reunion Conference, Hong Kong 21-26 October 2001. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, p.543-554. Phillips, M.J. (1998) Tropical Mariculture and Coastal Environmental Integrity. In Tropical Mariculture, edited by S.S. De Silva. London: Academic Press. P. 17-69.


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

Sadovy, Y.J. and Lau, P.P.F. (2002) Prospects and problems for mariculture in Hong Kong associated with wild-caught seed and feed. Aquaculture Economics and Management, Vol. 6(3/4), p.177-190. Vannuccini, S. (2004) Overview of Fish Production, Utilization, consumption and Trade Based on 2002 Data. FAO Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit, FAO, Rome. 19pp. Wilson, K.D.P. (1997) The Hong Kong marine fish culture industry – challenges for sustainable development. Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Marine Conservation in Hong Kong, p.86-97. Willmott, E. (2000) A Comprehensive Review of Marine Policy in Hong Kong. Civic Exchange, Hong Kong. 28pp. Wong, P.S. (1995) Country Reports : Hong Kong. In : Regional Study and Workshop on the Environmental Assessment and Management of Aquaculture Development (ed. FAO/NACA) NACA Environment and Aquaculture Development Series No. 1. Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand. Annex II-4, p. 113-139. Wonga, Q.Y.Y. (2000) Mariculture Practices in Relation to Water Quality and the Nearshore Marine Environment in Hong Kong. M. Sc (Environmental Management) Dissertation. University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. 89 pp. Wu, R.S.S. (1995) The environmental impact of marine fish culture: towards a sustainable future. Marine Pollution Bulletin, No. 31, p.159-166. Yang Y.F., Li C.H., Nie X.P., Tang, D.L. and Chung, I.K. (2005). Development of mariculture and its impacts in Chinese coastal waters. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, Volume 14 (1), pp. 1 – 10.


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable Development of the Aquaculture Industry in Hong Kong

TABLES Table 1

Quantity (in metric tonnes) and monetary value (in US$ ‘000) of annual aquaculture fish production in Asia* and world from 1984 to 2002

Asia Year

Tonne

World US$ '000

Tonne

US$ '000

1984

3,394,585

4,571,372.6

4,314,603

6,062,212.4

1985

4,045,682

5,292,524.0

5,032,818

6,818,527.9

1986

4,686,649

6,838,519.6

5,796,831

8,710,488.5

1987

5,429,371

8,380,423.0

6,607,238

10,623,841.9

1988

6,038,575

9,330,039.1

7,259,087

12,123,347.7

1989

6,373,387

9,596,660.1

7,734,192

12,685,093.6

1990

6,723,621

10,489,641.9

8,286,585

14,326,774.4

1991

7,147,840

10,813,259.1

8,582,758

14,346,140.0

1992

7,958,129

11,911,095.3

9,423,200

15,673,726.1

1993

9,122,621

13,208,274.4

10,666,878

16,911,195.0

1994

10,846,973

14,775,719.3

12,458,069

18,884,790.3

1995

12,541,216

16,395,956.9

14,291,304

20,992,497.6

1996

14,216,273

18,032,611.3

16,214,438

23,011,569.2

1997

15,726,992

19,196,909.6

17,873,207

24,638,246.1

1998

16,644,322

18,655,956.4

18,968,711

24,481,522.3

1999

17,946,737

19,549,487.5

20,519,070

25,935,179.5

2000

18,768,491

19,861,424.5

21,593,232

27,261,604.1

2001

19,811,650

20,131,108.0

22,944,998

27,717,586.2

2002

20,997,609

19,881,001.4

24,222,772

27,163,830.8

Source: FAO Fisheries Department, Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit. *Asian countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, Cyprus, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Rep. of), Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea (Dem. People’s Rep), Korea (Republic of), Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Dem. Rep., Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan Province of China, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.


Table 2

Quantity (in metric tonnes) and monetary value (in HK$ million, $Mn) of the annual primary, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture fish production in Hong Kong from 1984 to 2004 Total Primary Production

Year

Tonne

$Mn

Agriculture Production Tonne

$Mn

Fisheries Production Tonne

$Mn

Aquaculture Fish Production Tonne

$Mn

1984

36,072,985 3263

35,873,323

1451

199,662 1812

7,783

202

1985

33,832,279 3239

33,634,083

1321

198,196 1918

7,389

188

1986

37,568,631 3457

37,355,074

1349

213,557 2108

7,841

204

1987

36,295,305 3584

36,067,203

1374

228,102 2210

9,370

265

1988

33,797,698 3764

33,559,530

1411

238,168 2353

9,925

307

1989

32,631,594 3913

32,389,080

1533

242,514 2380

8,799

270

1990

29,985,121 3873

29,751,280

1401

233,841 2472

9,451

271

1991

22,945,070 3796

22,714,680

1260

230,390 2536

9,760

307

1992

19,996,580 3705

19,767,500

1132

229,080 2573

8,800

290

1993

17,385,025 3696

17,157,985

1046

227,040 2650

8,770

296

1994

14,463,100 3743

14,243,510

1136

219,590 2607

8,490

275

1995

13,189,909 3666

12,986,639

1222

203,270 2444

8,202

294

1996

12,553,454 3727

12,361,294

1268

192,160 2459

8,100

285

1997

10,629,747 3846

10,435,721

1378

194,026 2468

7,960

284

1998

5,451,738 3597

5,265,574

1325

186,164 2272

6,100

168

1999

8,348,267 2910

8,214,680

1244

133,587 1666

5,750

138

2000

8,566,769 3030

8,405,096

1258

161,673 1772

4,587

148

2001

10,099,543 3132

9,920,438

1222

179,105 1910

5,020

177

2002

9,582,459 2860

9,409,258

1163

173,201 1697

3,199

89

2003

10,909,694 2699

10,748,413

1052

161,281 1647

3,604

111

2004

8,513,374 2796

8,336,106

1124

177,268 1672

3,518

112

Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department


Table 3

Quantity (in metric tonnes) and monetary value (in HK$ million, $Mn) of mariculture and freshwater fish culture production in Hong Kong from 1984 to 2004

Mariculture

Freshwater Fish Culture

Tonne

*Local Area Consumption No. of $Mn (ha) (%) Farmers

968

6,500

104 1,640

N/A

N/A

133

1,426

5,800

75 1,450

N/A

N/A

27

157

1,661

5,743

68 1,350

N/A

N/A

187

28

164

1,854

6,500

78 1,400

N/A

N/A

3,281

222

28

179

1,810

6,644

85 1,400

N/A

N/A

1989

3,019

182

28

179

1,778

5,780

88 1,380

N/A

N/A

1990

3,321

189

28

178

1,737

6,130

82 1,380

N/A

N/A

1991

3,860

223

27

182

1,702

5,900

84 1,350

12

1690

1992

3,400

210

28

201

1,651

5,400

80 1,350

12

1400

1993

3,010

193

26

201

1,637

5,760

103 1,330

13

1400

1994

2,990

180

26

208

1,628

5,500

95 1,240

11

1310

1995

2,950

181

26

208

1,591

5,252

113 1,190

11

1220

1996

3,000

173

26

209

1,546

5,100

112 1,130

10

1190

1997

2,960

178

26

209

1,526

5,000

106 1,125

12

1180

1998

1,200

85

26

209

1,495

4,900

83 1,110

11

1150

1999

1,250

66

26

209

1,454

4,500

72 1,100

10

870

2000

1,770

102

26

209

1,414

2,817

46 1,060

6

790

2001

2,470

136

26

209

1,323

2,550

41 1,060

6

715

2002

1,210

57

26

209

1,237

1,989

32 1,030

4

630

2003

1,490

76

26

209

1,157

2,114

35 1,030

6

613

2004

1,541

79

26

209

1,125

1,977

33 1,026

5

637

No. of Area No. of $Mn FCZs (ha) Licensees

Year

Tonne

1984

1,283

98

26

133

1985

1,589

113

27

1986

2,098

136

1987

2,870

1988

Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department “N/A” means “not available” *Local consumption is also called "Self-sufficiency Ratio for freshwater fish"


Table 4

Details of the fish culture zones in Hong Kong (as at 31st Jan 2005)

No. of Licences Issued

No. of Licensed Raft

Licensed Percentage Area of All FCZ (sq. m) Area (%)

Fish Culture Zone

Zone Area (sq. m)

Ap Chau Cheung Sha Wan Kai Lung Wan Kat O Kau Lau Wan Kau Sai Leung Shuen Wan Lo Fu Wat Lo Tik Wan Ma Nam Wat Ma Wan O Pui Tong Po Toi Po Toi O Sai Lau Kong Sha Tau Kok Sham Wan Sok Kwu Wan Tai Tau Chau Tap Mun Tiu Cham Wan Tung Lung Chau Wong Wan Yim Tin Tsai Yim Tin Tsai (East) Yung Shue Au

4,200 214,200 27,045 32,400 11,200 46,200 17,300 5,400 109,200 40,100 46,300 105,600 3,000 38,200 7,200 180,000 180,600 141,200 62,800 72,400 17,000 80,000 22,500 136,300 149,500 342,000

2 83 25 39 7 40 55 1 64 13 71 8 6 40 6 67 46 125 49 47 36 133 80 80

4 141 45 54 20 103 79 5 99 19 110 33 6 65 6 105 212 169 123 129 58 297 180 226

453 20,595 5,975 5,958 1,265 13,057 6,960 744 24,507 1,627 14,554 5,249 272 5,977 1,327 17,159 19,914 26,817 13,532 12,741 12,344 26,467 20,566 313,325

0.2% 10.2% 1.3% 1.5% 0.5% 2.2% 0.8% 0.3% 5.2% 1.9% 2.2% 5.0% 0.1% 1.8% 0.3% 8.6% 8.6% 6.8% 3.0% 3.5% 0.8% 3.8% 1.1% 6.5% 7.1% 16.3%

2,091,845

1,123

2,288

571,385

100.0%

Total

Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department


Table 5

Percentages of the results of Q2 of the questionnaire for non-culturists

Cap

Name of Ordinance

Pro

Con

No Comment

28 116 127 131 132 133 137 138 139 171

Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance Rating Ordinance Foreshore and Seabed (Reclamations) Ordinance Town Planning Ordinance Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance Pesticides Ordinance Antibiotics Ordinance Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance Public Health (Animals & Birds) Ordinance Fisheries Protection Ordinance Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance Marine Fish (Marketing) Ordinance Marine Fish Culture Ordinance Waste Disposal Ordinance Water Pollution Control Ordinance Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund Ordinance

0% (0) 0% (0) 17% (3) 0% (0) 28% (5) 28% (5) 39% (7) 33% (6) 22% (4) 28% (5)

6% (1) 11% (2) 11% (2) 17% (3) 6% (6) 0% (0) 0% (0) 0% (0) 0% (0) 17% (3)

94% (17) 89% (16) 72% (13) 83% (15) 67% (12) 72% (13) 61% (11) 67% (12) 78% (14) 56% (10)

33% (6)

0% (0)

67% (12)

33% (6) 33% (6) 22% (4) 28% (5) 33% (6) 33% (6)

11% (2) 17% (3) 0% (0) 0% (0) 6% (1) 6% (1)

56% (10) 50% (9) 78% (14) 72% (13) 61% (11) 61% (11)

187 291 353 354 358 499 1080

( ) Numbers of actual responses


APPENDIX I RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT (AFCD) For aquaculture development, the AFCD is responsible for: —

conducting adaptive development to improve productivity and enhancing sustainability of the local aquaculture industry;

—

providing a greater variety of choice of species (e.g. Jade Perch, Tench and Chinese Long Snout ) for culture, enhancing the competitiveness of Hong Kong fish farmers, and identifying suitable new species with good market potential for extension to farmers;

— promoting the use of pellet feed to replace trash fish and traditional feed for aquaculture93. — Collecting commercially available dry pellet fish feed on a regular basis for nutritional analysis so as to assist fish farmers in choosing suitable dry pellet fish feed. For technical assistance, the AFCD is responsible for: — providing fish culturists with assistance on fish culture techniques and related management problems (upon request); — providing assistance in disease diagnosis and advice on appropriate treatment measures (upon request); — visiting fish farms to facilitate early detection of disease outbreaks and to advise fish farmers on good husbandry techniques and disease prevention measures under the Fish Health Inspection Programme; — taking initiatives to introduce and promote improved culture techniques and good management practices to fish farmers through farm visits on a regular basis, technical seminars and on-farm demonstrations. Information on fish farming management and environmental hygiene is also disseminated through advisory leaflets and guidelines. For financial assistance, the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund provides low interest loans to aquaculture farmers. Moreover, when fish farmers are seriously affected by natural disasters (e.g. flooding, typhoon, red tide, etc), the AFCD will make arrangements for affected small scale fish farmers to receive the Primary Producer Grant from the Emergency Relief Fund to assist them in rehabilitating their operations. 93

Moist pellet was first introduced in 1994. As there is a demand from the mariculturists in Tai Po, the Fish Marketing Organization’s Tai Po Fish Wholesale Market has been selling Taiwanese dry pellet feed for grouper (in pack of 20 kg at HK$ 220) since March 2005 (delivery to other FMO markets can be arranged for order of large quantity). The AFCD would consider establishing more selling points if there were an increasing demand. (Phone conversation on 1st April 2005)


APPENDIX I (continued) In monitoring the aquaculture environment, the AFCD is responsible for: — conducting regular water quality monitoring at FCZs to check the suitability of water for fish culture (monitoring frequency is increased when there are development works nearby); — investigating and advising fish farmers to minimise loss upon receipt of reports of fish kill or complaints of water quality changes; — holding technical seminars for fish farmers on water quality monitoring and management regularly. For red tide management, the AFCD is implementing an enhanced phytoplankton monitoring programme. In order to provide early warnings to mariculturists, at present the AFCD conducts weekly samplings from 11 fish culture zones and fortnightly from 5 offshore stations to detect the presence of harmful algae and development of red tides. An outreach team has also been established to provide rapid responses to red tide reports. If the red tide occurs at or near fish culture zones, the affected mariculturists will be alerted to take appropriate precautionary measures to guard against possible harmful effects. The AFCD also serves as the coordinating centre for red tide outbreaks, collecting and forwarding relevant information to other government departments involved in the management of the red tide issue (AFCD, 2005).


APPENDIX II PRACTICES, VISIONS AND STRATEGIES OF TAIWAN GOVERNMENT POLICY ON AQUACULTURE — To develop open marine cage culture and set up on-land infrastructure and accessory facilities so as to replace inland pond culture, and assist culturists in developing the techniques for rearing marine fish with high economic value; — To develop the hatchery industry, and enhance the culture of broodstock and artificial feed production; — To investigate and develop the hatchery techniques for high value fish species and ornamental fish, and establish a quick-test for fish diseases so as to improve the quality of fish fry; — To explore the fish species with competitive power within and outside Taiwan upon the market demand; — To designate fish culture zones with detailed planning, and strengthen culturists with diversified knowledge and techniques for operation; — To promote recreational and tourism activities within the culture zone in order to increase additional revenues for the industry; — To set up a centralized marine water supply system for the culture zone, and promote the implementation of common ownership of resources and operational systems; — To shorten the transportation time for the aquaproducts, increase marketing efficiency, and reduce the cost of transportation and marketing so as to ensure consumers and producers benefit; — To actively explore new consumers in order to create business opportunities; — To promote the investigation of the environment conditions of the off-shore and coastal culture facilities; — To assess the impacts of environment (including different kinds of pollution) and climate change to the industry; — To set up a network of information about aquaculture; — To study the biology and ecology of cultured organisms, set up a gene bank and engage in disease prevention and bio-technology development; — To investigate and promote the use of indoor super-intensive culture systems and simple style outdoor recirculation and water reuse systems in order to reduce underground water use; — To promote the research and development of the taste, quality, storage stability and diversity of the processed aquaproducts. — To improve the facilities in fish markets, promote the establishment of “efficiency” and “services” for marketing the aquaproducts, and mentor the promotion and development of food processing techniques in order to establish good and branded aquaproducts; — To set up funds for stabilizing fish prices; — To strengthen the competitive power of the export of aquaproducts through a reduction of import tax so as to sustain the development of aquaculture.


APPENDIX II (continued) Regarding the visions and strategies of Taiwan Government policy on aquaculture: — To focus on environment and ecology conservation; — To provide consumers with high-quality and branded aquaproducts; — To set up recreational and experiencing activities in culture zones through a detailed planning process; — To establish a comprehensive mechanism for a culturists’ organization, information network and market chain so as to globalise and lead the operations of aquaculture to large-scale enterprise; — To make use of automatic aquaculture equipment and techniques in order to lower production cost and dependence on human resources; — To explore biotechnology and fry production technologies; — To improve the performance of the cultured species and explore any potential new species for aquaculture; — To improve the culture operations so as to enhance competitiveness; — To ensure good supply and marketing of fish fry, set up a quality assurance certification system in order to promote Taiwan as the major fry supplier in the Asia Pacific region; — To promote the integration of the aquaculture industry with daily life and ecology; — To create a good environment for the production of aquaproducts through proper planning of culture zones and using culture cages as a public facility.


APPENDIX III QUESTIONNAIRE (CULTURIST’S VERSION)

Questionnaire on the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture Industry in HK Age:

Name: You are

Mariculturist

years

Fish-pond culturist

Location:

Tel: Ornamental Operating for ___ yrs

Size of operation:

sq. metres

1. In view of the sustainable development of aquaculture industry in HK, what kind of opinions do you have for the following items (Please specify any reasons)? Pro Con

No comments

Reason(s)

1. Related ordinances 2. Favourable water quality 3. Financial assistance from the Gov. 4. Technical support from the Gov. 5. Development near the culture areas 6. Pollution from nearby environment 7. Suitable sites for fish culture

8. Good fry supply 2. In view of the sustainable development of aquaculture industry in HK, how do you think about the Ordinances related to aquaculture industry (Please specify any reasons)?


APPENDIX III (continued) 3. In order to foster the sustainable development of aquaculture (freshwater and marine)

industry in Hong Kong, will you support the following suggestion(s). If you have any other suggestion(s), please specify: Improve the current situation of water pollution. Amend the current regulations on land uses. Government provides culturists with land at low-interest rent and extendable contract for fish farming purposes. Establish on-land, indoor fish culture facilities. Set up accessory facilities (e.g. freshwater pumps, piers, etc.) inside fish culture zones. Set up funding scheme specially for culturists (like the “SME Funding Scheme� provided by the Trade and Industry Department) so as to cope with long-termed investments related to the aquaculture industry. Open new marine fish culture zones with better environmental conditions. Promote the use of dry / moist pellet as fish feeds in order to increase the growth rate and reduce the inducting of pollutants resulted from using mixed fish as feeds. Produce vaccinated fish fry / fingerlings in Hong Kong so as to reduce mortality and demand for the import of fish fry / fingerlings. Establish and promote locally produced food fish as branded food, and widen the marketing so as to strengthen the competitiveness in the market. Culture food fish with higher market price. Culture high market-value ornamental fish (e.g. goldfish, koi and tropical fish). Other suggestion(s):

End Please return the completed questionnaire to Civic Exchange (Attn: Thierry Chan) by: Email: thierrychan@civic-exchange.org ; Fax: 31059713 ; OR Post: Room 701, Hoseinee House, 69 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong.


APPENDIX III (continued) QUESTIONNAIRE (NON-CULTURIST’S VERSION)

Questionnaire on the Sustainable Development of Aquaculture Industry in HK Name of Department / Organisation:

Name: Position:

Tel:

Fax:

Email:

Address:

Q1. In view of the sustainable development of aquaculture industry in HK, what kind of opinions do you have for the following items (Please specify any reasons)? Pro Con

No comments

Reason(s)

9. Related ordinances 10. Favourable water quality 11. Financial assistance from the Gov. 12. Technical support from the Gov. 13. Development near the culture areas 14. Pollution from nearby environment 15. Suitable sites for fish culture

16. Good fry supply Q2. In view of the sustainable development of aquaculture industry in HK, how do you think about the following Ordinances related to aquaculture industry (Please specify any reasons)?

Pro Con No comments Cap 28

Land (Misc. Provisions) Ordinance

★ about special rates listed in Schedule 1, etc Cap 116 Rating Ordinances ★ about interpretation and exemption form assessment of agricultural land, etc. Cap 127 Forshore and Seabed (Reclmations) Ord ★ about claims for compensation due to reclamation, etc Cap 131 Town Planning Ordinance ★ about the development plan, taking disposal of property from affect areas, etc.

Reason(s)


APPENDIX III (continued)

Pro Con No comments

Reason(s)

Cap 132 Public Health & Municipal Services Ord ★ about interpretation of food (except live fish), metallic contamination, etc. Cap 133 Pesticides Ordinance ★ about the control of manufacturing, selling, offering of pesticides, etc. Cap 137 Antibiotics Ordinance ★ about the control of sale and supply of antibiotics, etc. Cap 138 Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance ★ about sale and possession of poisons, etc. Cap 139 Public Health (Animals & Birds) Ord. ★ about interpretation of animals (except fish) Cap 171 Fisheries Protection Ordinance ★ about regulations on fishing activities (fish culture is exempted), etc. Cap 187 Animals & Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ord. ★ about import, export and possession of scheduled and highly endangered species Cap 291 Marine Fish (Marketing) Ordinance ★ about interpretation of marine fish (except fish alive in water), operations of the FMO, etc. Cap 353 Marine Fish Culture Ordinance ★ about restrictions within a fish culture zone, application, transfer, grant, cancellation of licences (and/or permits), etc. Cap 354 Waste Disposal Ordinance ★ about waste disposal, influence caused by gathering grounds adjacent waterways and saline waters, etc. Cap 358 Water Pollution Control Ordinance ★ about the control of water quality in water control zones, permission of deposit produced from fish farming practices, etc. Cap 499 Environmental Impact Assessment Ord. ★ about the control of certain projects and proposals (e.g. dredging, effluent of waste water, etc.) in view of the affects to the environment, fish culture zones(except all earthworks relating to agriculture, fisheries), etc. Cap 1080 Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund Ord. ★ about the management and issue of the fund


APPENDIX III (continued) Q3. In order to foster the sustainable development of aquaculture (freshwater and marine)

industry in Hong Kong, will you support the following suggestion(s). If you have any other suggestion(s), please specify: Improve the current situation of water pollution. Amend the current regulations on land uses. Government provides culturists with land at low-interest rent and extendable contract for fish farming purposes. Establish on-land, indoor fish culture facilities. Set up accessory facilities (e.g. freshwater pumps, piers, etc.) inside fish culture zones. Set up funding scheme specially for culturists (like the “SME Funding Scheme� provided by the Trade and Industry Department) so as to cope with long-termed investments related to the aquaculture industry. Open new marine fish culture zones with better environmental conditions. Promote the use of dry / moist pellet as fish feeds in order to increase the growth rate and reduce the inducting of pollutants resulted from using mixed fish as feeds. Produce vaccinated fish fry / fingerlings in Hong Kong so as to reduce mortality and demand for the import of fish fry / fingerlings. Establish and promote locally produced food fish as branded food, and widen the marketing so as to strengthen the competitiveness in the market. Culture food fish with higher market price. Culture high market-value ornamental fish (e.g. goldfish, koi and tropical fish). Other suggestion(s):

End

Please return the completed questionnaire to Civic Exchange (Attn: Thierry Chan) by: Email: thierrychan@civic-exchange.org ; Fax: 31059713 ; OR Post: Room 701, Hoseinee House, 69 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong.


The Current Status and Potential Sustainable