Artificial reefs work to help fishermen increase income

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The artificial reefs installed by a research center under the Council of Agriculture (COA) in water areas off eastern Taiwan have been a success, helping fishermen rake in over NT$10 million over the past six months, according to COA sources. Fishery resources have gradually been depleted in recent years, seriously undermining the livelihood of fishermen. To counter the trend, the Fisheries Research Institute under the COA, started to build artificial reefs with floating plastic balls, trying to attract more fish. Usually, an artificial reef measures five meters in height and three meters in diameter. Following months of regular inspection, the FRI found the reefs have done a very good job in attracting schools of fish, as fishing boats can catch an average of 180 kilograms of fish, with some boats even scoring a high fish catch of over 400 kilograms per sail. Wu Long-ching, director of the Coastal and Offshore Resource Research Center under the FRI, said that in May, fishermen could easily find yellowfin tuna weighing over 40 kilograms chasing flying fish in the waters off eastern Taiwan, and could enjoy handsome income after catching such tuna, which are valued at over NT$10,000 each.

In the first nine months of the year, fishermen in the Hsingkang area of the eastern Taiwan scored a total fish catch of over 230 metric tons, valued at over NT$20 million, according to FRI statistics. The FRI plans to set up more huge artificial fish reefs along coastal and offshore water areas, so as to help fishermen enjoy more fish catches and improve their livelihoods.